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Guest Column: State Sen. Tom O'Mara
ALBANY, March 19 -- Here’s what one of upstate New York’s staunchest advocates, the group Unshackle Upstate, had to say about the State Senate’s new economic development strategy: “The budget plan shows that the Senate is serious about providing relief to taxpayers and boosting private-sector job growth. By advancing a constitutional limit on the growth of state spending, reducing hidden energy taxes and providing tax credits for creating jobs, the plan will help get our economy back on track. Unshackle Upstate supports the Senate’s plan and we’ll continue to work with them to address meaningful mandate relief for our local governments that will help unlock their potential and make our communities more affordable.”
We’re calling our new, comprehensive economic development plan “New Jobs-NY” – but at its core, it reflects old, fundamental truths about creating a stronger economy. But they’re truths that have been too long ignored in New York. Government by itself can’t –and more importantly shouldn’t – decide the state’s economic future. But there’s no question that government policies do have a decisive impact on the direction of the state economy and, without question, can help to improve and strengthen it.
For the Senate’s part, we believe that government’s ability to cut taxes and control spending points the way to a better overall business climate statewide, and a long-term economic turnaround across New York. So we’ve made “cut taxes and control spending” the bedrock of our strategy, which was approved recently as part of our proposed state budget. That proposal currently forms the basis of the Senate’s ongoing negotiations with state Assembly leaders and Governor Cuomo on this year’s final budget.
It’s undeniable that the past year in New York government has already achieved overdue and significant economic and fiscal reforms. But we can’t stop now. A January 2012 report from the Tax Foundation still ranked New York as having the second-worst business tax climate in the nation, ahead of only New Jersey.
So we keep at it. It’s time to do anything and everything possible to remove New York from the list of states with the worst business environments in America. Again, government can help lead that effort by cutting taxes and controlling spending. Our communities and our workers need New York to be a place that opens the door to private-sector job growth, welcomes businesses and industries, and helps provide long-term economic security for workers and their families.
The new Senate plan proposes to strengthen the state’s economic competitiveness and improve New York’s business climate through a broad strategy involving significant tax relief, much of it aimed at private-sector job creation.
But the New Jobs-NY plan also takes aim at the fiscal condition of state government itself. It calls for greater fiscal responsibility and spending control across state government, including a two-percent cap on year-to-year state spending growth. To make it harder for state lawmakers to raise taxes in the future, it calls for a Constitutionally mandated, “super majority” two-thirds vote of the Legislature in order to enact any tax increases. In the short term, it would place an immediate moratorium on any new taxes or fees. And it includes new regulatory reforms to cut expensive red tape for businesses.
You can read more about “New Jobs-NY” on my website, www.omara.nysenate.gov.
The head of the state’s largest business advocacy organization, The Business Council of New York, assessed the Senate plan this way: “The program provides much needed tax relief to small businesses, which are the engines of job creation and economic growth throughout the state. We look forward to working with the Senate to ensure that the enacted budget will continue to restrain the cost of government, while reforming major state spending programs, and providing mandate relief that reduces the cost of local government.”
We may not get all of “New Jobs-NY” done, all at once. But it stakes a claim to the future direction of New York government – a direction that’s even more committed to private-sector growth, economic competitiveness, and long-term job security for workers. It puts down firm groundwork for future economic and fiscal turnarounds, and we’re going to keep fighting for it.
Photo in text: State Senator Tom O'Mara
Schuyler County Officials
Top row (from left): Dennis Fagan, Thomas Gifford, Doris Karius, Glenn Larison
Bottom row: Michael A. Yuhasz, Barbara Halpin, Phil Barnes, Stewart Field
Dennis Fagan, Tyrone 607-292-3687
Michael A. Yuhasz, 535-4967
Doris L. Karius, 546-5544
Barbara Halpin, 594-3683
Glenn R. Larison, 594-3385
Thomas M. Gifford, 535-9517
Phil Barnes, Watkins Glen 481-0482
Stewart Field, Watkins Glen 535-2335
County Clerk: Linda Compton, 535-8133
Sheriff: William Yessman, 535-8222
Undersheriff: Breck Spaulding, 535-8222
County Treasurer: Margaret Starbuck, 535-8181
District Attorney: Joseph Fazzary, 535-8383
State, Federal Officials for Schuyler County
Sen. Charles E. Schumer
United States Senate
Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand
United States Senate
State Senator Tom O'Mara -- Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Yates, western Tompkins, Enfield, Ithaca (Town and City), Newfield, Ulysses(Trumansburg)
Room 812, Legislative Office Building
Assemblyman Christopher Friend --
Chemung, Schuyler, Tioga
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869