Governor Kathy Hochul proposed a $216 billion spending plan for legislators to approve. The budget is due by April 1, though that deadline can, and will be extended into the first week of April. Some of the sticking points still being ironed out include bail reform, a 10-point public safety plan, gas price relief, expansion of state support for child care, funding for a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills, and the legalization of to-go cocktails.
As we await the language of the final Budget bills, I am happy to report that our number one workforce development priority this session made it into both the Senate and Assembly one-house budget proposals. We have, along with many organizations and businesses (approximately 450) continue to advocate for the CTE salary increase from $30,000 to $60,000. Hopefully many of you responded to the Legislative Department’s Call-to-Action.
As of the writing of this report, the budget is still being negotiated but we are hopeful that the finished product will contain the increase we were advocating for.
In addition to CTE budget advocacy, we are also actively engaged on other important small business budget proposals:
Unemployment Insurance: New York’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund is completely depleted and is needed for post-pandemic economic recovery. Small businesses are advocating for NYS to use federal pandemic aid and/or state revenues to help replenish the UI Trust Fund.
Tax Cuts for Small Businesses: New York small business owners are burdened by taxes, regulations, and the cost of insurance. New mandates including paid sick leave, COVID sick leave, the NY HERO Act, and paid family leave are especially burdensome on small businesses that don’t benefit from sophisticated HR, compliance, or legal departments. Targeted tax relief would help small businesses survive and thrive.
In addition we are active in our opposition to the two building code related budget bills.
• Strengthen Code Enforcement Standards and to restore funding to local governments enforcing the Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code.
• Advanced Building Codes, Appliance and Equipment Efficiency Standards and Building Benchmarking Act of 2022.
Small Business Day
This year’s Small Business Day, coordinated by NFIB and The Business Council of NYS was held on March 17, 2022. The event was held virtually and included legislative discussions with Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt; Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay; Senator Anna Kaplan, Chair of the Senate Small Business Committee; and Assemblyman Al Stirpe, Chair of the Assembly Small Business Committee. More than 100 small businesses participated and advocated for UI, tax cuts, ADA lawsuit reform, all-electric building proposals, and COVID sick leave reform. Legislators were very responsive and willing to lend their support to ease burdens on small businesses.
In addition to participating in the Budget process, The Vandervort Group will continue to work on NRLA’s priority issues, including the following:
Workforce Development: In addition to the CTE budget play, NRLA was able to secure a speaker to address the Legislative Committee. Doug Ford as part of his work with the Saratoga Builders Association introduced NRLA to Dr. Denise Fernandez-Pallozzi, Ed.D. who is the Director for Career and Technical Education at Questar III BBOCES. Her presentation was on Building a Youth Apprenticeship Program in New York State which is something we are interested in pursuing. It was a very informative introduction to apprenticeship programs and we are excited to work closely with her on our efforts to explore opportunities for the retail lumber industry.
Retainage: More to come in the April Update as this is going to be a post-budget issue.
Pay When Paid Law: It looks as if the law is working well and will likely not need any legislative fixes or improvements. Kirk now has a good contact at the Tax Department if the need arises.