Positive stories about the improving economy are popping up in the news on a more regular basis. The unemployment rate is ticking down. Growth, while slow, is steady. And we appear to have shaken the worst recession since the Great Depression. However, here in the 22nd Assembly District, we still have a ways to go to get more people back to work.
As your state Assembly representative, finding solutions to help create good-paying jobs in the 22nd Assembly District is my top priority. Weve made progress so far this year by investing in economic development programs and cutting taxes for small businesses to help create jobs. We are working together to promote a more business-friendly environment in our state New York is indeed open for business.
This years state budget includes $438.1 million for the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPs). The 21 percent increase the first increase in five years will rebuild our roads and bridges while creating desperately needed jobs. The budget also:
- establishes the New York State Innovation Venture Capital Fund and the New York State Business Incubator and Innovation Hot Spot Support Act to assist the start-up and growth of newly established business and technology companies in the state;
- provides tax credits to businesses that hire veterans who have fought so hard to protect our country;
- adopts the federal expansion of the Shared Work Program, which helps prevent employees from losing their jobs by providing employers with an alternative to laying off workers.
I also recognize the need to ensure our state university system has the infrastructure to properly educate students for the jobs of tomorrow. Thats why this years budget contains $55 million in capital funding for a third round of NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grants. An additional $55 million will be allocated to create a corresponding NYCUNY 2020 program to improve infrastructure and create jobs at CUNY campuses.
I also am excited about the new START-UP NY program, which designates tax-free zones for eligible businesses near SUNY and CUNY campuses as well as private colleges and universities to foster job creation. The program also reduces burdensome regulations for businesses and enhances the Excelsior Jobs Program to provide investment incentives to businesses in strategic industries such as manufacturing, high-tech and clean energy.
In addition to investing in new businesses, we must continue to support New Yorks vitally important agriculture industry. This year I helped restore funding to key programs like the Farm Viability Institute, New York Wine and Grape Foundation, Maple Producers Association and the New York State Apple Growers Association.
Families in the 22nd Assembly District have been working hard the past few years to find good-paying jobs and make ends meet in a tough economy. Ive been doing my part in the state Assembly, helping to cut costs for businesses and bolster state funding for job-creation programs that work. You have my pledge: Ill keep working every day to improve the business climate and bring good-paying jobs that will keep our bright students and hardworking families here in the 22nd Assembly District.