Reopening Parts of New York Is Reason For Cautious Optimism

Legislative Column from Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay
May 15, 2020

Today, certain areas of New York are finally taking important steps in a positive direction after weeks of lockdown orders and business closures. While there is cautious optimism in the regions reopening – the Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, Mohawk Valley, Central New York and North Country – we must remember there is still much work to do, and many of the risks associated with the health crisis have not disappeared.

The financial impacts of COVID-19 on our local and state economies cannot be understated. Residents, small business owners and unemployed workers are facing enormous financial shortfalls. Local and state governments will also be forced to manage major budget gaps, very likely, for years to come. As we prepare for life on the other side of this pandemic, it is critical we integrate the valuable lessons we have learned during this experience.

Earlier this week, we heard directly from business owners and advocates regarding their own experiences during this unprecedented health crisis. Nearly 20 panelists provided their stories during a joint legislative hearing which reviewed the government’s response to COVID-19 within the small business community. Across several different sectors, delays in loan processing, supply-chain disruptions, a lack of information and a host of other challenges were detailed by an understandably frustrated and anxious community.

The Assembly Minority Conference has always fought for the state’s small businesses and job-creators. As the process of reopening New York gets under way, we will continue to provide whatever help we can to get businesses up and running again. There’s a long road ahead for businesses that have been forced to close and for employees who are out of work. For state policymakers, it’s time to finally establish an economic climate that fosters prosperity and eliminates the old way of doing business which relied heavily on high taxes and costly regulations.

I’m proud to have offered numerous proposals designed to help right the ship. If we are going to rebuild New York it must be done with sustained improvements. To that end, the Assembly Minority has proposed the “Jump-Start New York” initiative, featuring a number of economic-relief measures that provide a blueprint for sustained recovery in the early days of reopening and well into the future.

Merely reopening New York will not suffice. We must facilitate a better economy with a more resilient healthcare infrastructure. We must not only fix the damage done to our state but enhance its capacity for growth. Today is an important day for New York, but let’s remember it is but one leg of a marathon. There is still much left to do.