By Assemblyman Will Barclay
I wanted to update you on a few matters this week. This is a busy time of year in Albany. I’ve met with many people across New York State and throughout the district recently and I wanted to bring you up to date on some items of interest.
Manufacturers in need of incentives, workers
This week, I participated in a panel discussion in Albany concerning manufacturing in the state, which was organized by Manufacturers Association of Central New York. I was among six lawmakers on the panel. It was informative to hear some of the discussion. I share many of their concerns, such as lowering the cost of doing business in this state—starting with providing more affordable energy. These employers are a key to a strong, local economy.
One of the concerns they voiced to the panel was the need for a skilled workforce. I support legislation that would bridge the gap between educators and local jobs, particularly starting at the high school level. I also sponsor legislation that would reward businesses that invest in their employees–by providing tax credits for employers who provide on-the-job training and assist employees with higher education expenses. There is some federal funding available this year for on-the-job training but we should create more policies at the state level to assist employers. Training workers with employable skills continues to be vital but this does not come free. I applaud some of what the state has done in improving its online job search tools, in its attempt to better match employers with potential employees. The improved labor site was launched late last year and can be accessed at http://www.labor.ny.gov/home/
Wage Theft Prevention update
The Senate recently passed legislation that removes burdensome mandates for businesses. It is time for the Assembly to pass this important legislation, of which I am a sponsor. This bill would repeal costly and redundant paperwork that requires businesses to provide in writing an annual statement of their pay rate or face a fine. This information is already included on an employee’s pay stub. I was pleased to see the Senate take action in eliminating this unnecessary mandate on job creators. Forcing employers to send out an annual notice like this is redundant and creates an extra expense for companies. I encourage my colleagues in the Assembly to bring this to a vote on the floor.
I am in support of legislation the Governor proposed last week that would allow farm breweries to operate restaurants, inns, bed and breakfasts adjacent to farm breweries. It would also allow them to conduct tastings on premises and sell related products such as souvenir items, beer-making equipment and supplies, as well as food that complements beer. This legislation is modeled after the Farm Winery Act, which spurred the growth of wine production in our state, bringing our total of farm wineries up to 273 and tripling the number of wineries. The legislation would also encourage locally-grown ingredients, such as hops, to create the distinction of a New York State labeled beer. This is an important piece of the legislation, to encourage more agriculture in the state. I am hopeful this makes its way to the Assembly and eventually into law.
Free fishing clinics may expand
Legislation was also put forth last week that would expand free fishing clinics in New York State. I have long been a proponent to encourage more recreational sports, which would bolster tourism and enhance our local economy. I sponsor legislation that would create “I Love NY Outdoors.” This would market our region as a premiere outdoor destination. These clinics are managed by the Department of Environmental Conservation. Providing more free fishing clinics would help introduce the sport to more individuals and families. Participants are not required to have a fishing license to attend these events but it may pique their interest to eventually obtain a license. New York’s sport fishing industry generates an estimated $1.8 billion in economic activity annually, supporting nearly 17,000 jobs.
I would be pleased to see the DEC work more with the public to create such events to bolster the sport. Last year, we created free fishing clinics for veterans and active-duty members. I was proud to sponsor this legislation in the Assembly. This is one small way our state can say ‘thank you’ to our service members.
If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office. My office can be reached by mail at 200 North Second Street, Fulton, New York 13069, by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling (315) 598-5185. You may also friend me, Assemblyman Barclay, on Facebook.