Thursday June 8, 2017

Budget Banter: Representatives Analyze State Budget

Spending plan gets applause, boos from state reps
By Ken Little

    New York state’s recently adopted fiscal year 2018 budget received mixed grades from several local state lawmakers, but they said it does contain some components that should help improve Central New York’s business climate.

    The $163 billion spending package should have a positive effect on a variety of sectors in the regional economy.


    State Sen. Patty Ritchie (R-Oswegatchie), state Assemblyman William A. Barclay (R-Pulaski) and state senator and deputy majority leader John A. DeFrancisco, (R-Syracuse) weighed in on the impact the state budget will have on business in the region.


    The budget “builds on the state’s fiscal discipline over the last six years while strengthening the middle class, reducing taxes, and making smart investments in New York’s future,” according to the state Division of the Budget. For the seventh consecutive year, the budget is balanced and holds spending growth to 2 percent, a news release states.


    Economic development components of the budget include continuation of Regional Economic Development Councils, which have awarded nearly $4.6 billion in state funding to more than 5,200 projects since 2011 through a competitive process to spur job creation based on regional priorities.


    Projects receiving funding through the REDC initiative are expected to create and retain 210,000 jobs in New York, the Division of Budget reports.


    The 2018 budget includes $750 million in core capital and tax-credit funding that will be combined with a wide range of existing agency programs for REDC Round VII.


    Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the budget demonstrates that New York “is once again leading the nation and showing what responsible government can achieve.


    “The result is a budget that advances the core progressive principles that built New York — investing in the middle class, strengthening the economy and creating opportunity for all.”


    Ritchie opines:
    Ritchie is chair of the state Senate Agriculture Committee. She said the recently adopted budget should help business and agriculture in New York.


    “As state senator, boosting our region’s economy and creating jobs have always been top priorities for me,” Ritchie said. “The new state budget takes us closer to those goals in a number of ways, namely by achieving the most significant workers compensation reform in a decade, enacting measures that will make it more affordable to do business in New York and investing in workforce development.”


    Ritchie said this year’s budget “succeeded in restoring nearly $10 million, for a total of $51 million, to help support New York farmers.


    “Agriculture is a key industry in our part of the state, and I am confident these funds will help hardworking farmers as they continue to grow and produce the fresh foods we depend on.”


    Ritchie said the budget includes $51 million in overall funding “for many vital agriculture programs, including more than $9.8 million specific to helping the dairy industry.”


    There are about 5,000 dairy farms in New York state. As chair of the agriculture committee, Ritchie said she continues to advocate programs that benefit the state’s farmers.


    “As the 2017 legislative session continues, I will be working to ensure New York farmers have the tools and resources they need to thrive, which in turn will help strengthen this important industry,” she said.


    Barclay blasts budget:
    Barclay recently characterized the spending plan as a “behemoth.”


    “This budget does nothing to ease the cost of doing business or help cut back on any of New York’s numerous regulations,” he said. “This budget continues New York's reputation as a high tax-and-spend state.


    “Not only does this budget continue New York’s reputation as a high tax state, this budget also ensures that New York spends more than almost any other state in the nation, second only to California.
    “That being said, as happens every year, there is good and bad to be found in this budget.”

    Elements Barclay said he was glad to see incorporated into the budget include ride sharing for Upstate residents and workers’ compensation reforms.


    “My colleagues and I were also successful in getting more funding for Upstate roads and bridges and water infrastructure, all of which will help our Upstate communities,” Barclay said. “We also were successful in restoring funding for certain agricultural industry groups, like New York state maple and apple growers.


    “Investments like these help farmers and increases agri-tourism throughout the state, a win-win for farmers and local businesses,” Barclay said.


    Barclay said he also backs the budget investment in marketing promotion for New York state's products, which will continue through the Taste NY program.


    Overall, lawmakers could do better to encourage economic growth, Barclay said.


    “Despite much of the rhetoric coming out of Albany, what unfortunately is missing from this year’s budget and budgets from prior years is any initiative that will be transformative for New York state and the Upstate economy,” Barclay said.


    DeFrancisco reflects on budget: DeFrancisco said this year’s budget includes initiatives to foster small business growth through reduced costs and job retention and creation.


    He cited the most comprehensive workers’ compensation reform since 2007, reducing costs for businesses, nonprofits and municipalities by an estimated $700 million annually.


    DeFrancisco said the ride-sharing legislation “will allow convenient ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft to become available and create an important resource for tourism and economic growth.”


    Funding for local transit systems like Centro to help cover operating and capital expenses will improve local access for riders, he added.


    DeFrancisco said the budget provides funding for job training, education and workforce development initiatives, including the Central New York Manufacturers Internship Program and the Next Generation Job Linkage Program that works with people to help identify potential jobs and provides job seekers with appropriate training.


    Funding is provided for the SUNY Apprentice Initiative, which will help community colleges and employers refine new employees’ skills and assist experienced employees in upgrading their skills. Scholarships are also available for part-time community college students, DeFrancisco said.


    Other funding will promote tourism in the Finger Lakes region that will benefit local businesses, agriculture research programs at Cornell University that provide significant support services for Central New York farmers, and for the CNY REDC to support local initiatives.


    About $2.5 billion in funding for infrastructure programs in the state will help to create local jobs, DeFrancisco said.


    “These measures were adopted in conjunction with feedback received from small businesses to address some of the impediments to local economic growth,” DeFrancisco said.



Oswego County Business Magazine
Issue 152

Issue 152
October/November 2017

Cover Story

Profiles

Kathryn J. Connell

On The Job

“Do you encourage your employees to get additional training?”

Success Stories

Chase Enterprises

My Turn

Jobs of Yesteryear Not Coming Back

Economic Trends

The Shift in Manufacturing Jobs

Last Page

Ronald Woodward Sr.