Another Anti-Business Policy From Albany

Unemployment Insurance Assessment Surcharge Hurts Small Businesses

With the recent enactment of the Real Property Tax Cap and the launch of the Regional Economic Development Councils, New York state is once again in a position to craft an economic development plan that creates jobs and puts unemployed New Yorkers back to work.

However, job growth cannot happen without doing something about the state’s regulations and high taxes. Businesses in New York remain over-regulated and over-taxed, and now, new entrepreneurs are being nickel-and-dimed by yet another costly fee.

The launch of the regional economic development councils is a positive step forward in creating a better business climate in this state, but a recent action by the Department of Labor risks pushing our economic development plans two steps back.

School districts and municipalities know all too well the budget-busting effects of “unfunded mandates.” Now, the state Department of Labor is getting into the unfunded mandate game by passing on more financial burdens to New York’s small businesses. The state’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) Interest Assessment Surcharge would force businesses to cover the cost of a $95 million interest payment on federal loans to the state’s UI trust fund.

As the owner of a small insurance agency, I know first-hand how New York’s small businesses are over-taxed and over-regulated. Until we do something about regulations and taxes, New York state will continue to lose jobs and prospective companies will keep looking elsewhere.

That’s why I am calling on Governor Cuomo to rescind the UI Interest Assessment Surcharge imposed on small businesses and refund any businesses that already have paid this fee. This assessment is just one more burden placed on the backs of job creators, and an affront to recent efforts to open New York for business. Let’s get the Department of Labor back on the same page.

While we wait for Congress to take action on making federal loans to the state UI trust fund interest free, Albany can solve this problem on its own. The state could use a portion of the nearly $800 million surplus in first quarter tax receipts to cover the $95 million interest payment, instead of forcing job creators to foot the bill.

To show current and potential businesses that we want them here, New York needs to start rewarding, not penalizing, entrepreneurs for creating jobs. And those rewards should begin with removing burdensome regulations and taxes.

One of the goals of the regional economic development councils is to redesign the relationship between Albany and businesses to stimulate regional economic development and create jobs statewide. Rescinding the UI Assessment Interest Surcharge is a positive step toward changing New York’s negative image and spreading the word that New York is once again “open for business.”

As always, I welcome your questions and concerns. Please do not hesitate to contact me at my district office, 15 Bridge St., West Carthage, call me at (315) 493-3909, or email me at And don’t forget, I hold monthly office hours at the Town of Lowville Municipal Building on the second Wednesday of each month from 9 am to noon.