A Legislative Column from Assemblyman Will Barclay (R,C,I—Pulaski)
There are indications from Governor Cuomo that the State Legislature could be called back to Albany this month to pass legislation that would close the projected state budget gap. There are different estimates out there as to what the actual deficit is, but we know it’s at least $350 million. State tax revenues are down due to the poor economy.
There are a couple items rumored to be on the agenda if we reconvene before scheduled in January. The talk has turned to “revamping the tax code.” At this point, the details of this proposal are unclear. News media has reported that the Governor is advocating to amend income tax brackets to essentially increase taxes particularly on high earners. This is counter to numerous public statements by Cuomo in which he emphatically stated that he would not raise taxes. However, as of this writing, lawmakers have not been provided details of this tax proposal and accordingly, I am awaiting the details before taking a stance on whether this is a good policy.
It is also reported that part of any deal would be to pass legislation that would pave the way for legalized casino gambling in New York. While the merits of allowing casino gambling in New York are debatable, I am troubled that the state is looking to gambling in order to balance our budget. If we had been more fiscally prudent in our budgeting in prior years, the state might not be stuck looking at gambling as a financial solution. Again, like Cuomo’s tax increase no specifics have been released as to his gambling proposal and therefore as of this time it is difficult to take a stand without knowing more.
As far as other state news, there have been some state marketing efforts that are a step in the right direction and that will hopefully, help disseminate the important information to the right people. Last month New York announced its Jobs Express site, http://jobs.ny.gov. This site claims to list 52,000 openings and improved search tools that can be customized for skill level and geographic region. Employers say they find it a useful tool to attract job seekers. There is also a new site aimed to help grow business in New York and give residents here the ability to navigate some of the resources available through the state. That site is called Business First and can be found at, http://www.nyfirst.ny.gov/. This site contains links to answers concerning start-up assistance, tax questions for small businesses or sole proprietors, permits and licensing, and employee training, including many more topics a start-up business may have questions about. I would encourage you to visit these sites.
As we look forward to another legislative session, I hope the focus will be on job creation and helping to keep the small businesses and manufacturers here in New York. The businesses and people who can create jobs for themselves can also create jobs for others. Whether it’s a few or many, each job counts.
If you have any questions 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 can also friend me, Assemblyman Barclay, on Facebook.