Can you hear us now Albany? This is the message that Unshackle Upstate and like-minded business coalitions are bringing to members of the Legislature as they head into the final weeks of session. Unshackle Upstate and its coalition partners will demand from Albany,  a budget that reigns in spending, reduces taxes and moves New York one step closer toward fiscal reform.

Because it seems that despite the well-intentioned efforts of some members of the Legislature work toward these goals, they’re words continue to fall on deaf ears. For most, the propensity toward expanding the size of government, increasing the power of labor unions and stymieing the growth of business is still to strong.  Inevitably, this leads to the perception that the status quo is okay in Albany. And often times, perception is reality.

Take for example some of the bills that are being considered right now. The service worker, utility worker and IDA bill all will impose prevailing wage mandates on private industry. This will result in hidden taxes and higher costs to taxpayers, but also sends a message that the costs of doing business in New York is getting higher.

There is also the “abusive workplace” bill, which if enacted, would establish a new civil cause of action for any employee in New York to claim that they have been subject to an abusive workplace environment. If passed, New York would be the first state to enact such a law.

Of great concern to us in the southern tier, are the number of bills aimed at delaying or further hindering natural gas exploration in the Marcellus Shale. The regulations imposed by the DEC are perhaps the most stringent in the nation and will continue to be, even as gas drilling becomes a reality. The sGEIS that will be released this fall can put us one step closer toward realizing the economic potential that exists with safe gas drilling.  Many energy companies have stated that they will comply with whatever regulations the DEC puts forth. Yet there still exists legislation (A.10490 Englebright) that will delay natural gas drilling, perhaps indefinitely.

With such little time left, why not have a real dialogue on instituting a real property tax cap with mandate relief or a state spending cap? Put forth bills that lower energy costs, reduce the hold of labor unions and provide tools for businesses to grow and expand.

It is imperative that the Unshackle Army continue to demand that their legislators hear what they have been saying. Because if they don’t hear us now, we will make sure that they do in November.