They’re baaaaack! Well, not yet…and we don’t necessarily know when, but they’re coming. The Senate, that is.  They are scheduled to vote on our state’s revenue legislation.  Why didn’t the Senate vote on this before leaving Albany? It reminds me of when I was younger and I was told that I couldn’t have my juice until I finished all of the food on my plate.  Why was the Senate dismissed for vacation without finishing their legislative duties? They were allowed to drink their juice before finishing their food.

However, after months of feuding and disagreements, the Legislature approved the spending plan, which just so happens to include fees, increased spending, taxes and borrowing (remember when our leaders pledged to not support these?).   How does an additional $954 million dollars in taxes out of our pocket sound?

Alas, all is not bad news with us.  Some of our representatives actually listened.  Unshackle Upstate, working in conjunction with many other organizations, has stopped a significant number of bills that will adversely impact job creators in the State of New York. They include the following:

o   IDA Labor Mandates (S.1241 THOMPSON / A.3659 Hoyt)
This legislation would impose costly and burdensome mandates to economic development projects financed by Industrial Development Agencies.

o   Natural Gas Drilling Moratorium (S.7592-A  ADDABBO / A.10490-A Englebright)
If enacted, this bill would establish a moratorium on conducting hydraulic fracturing pending the issuance of a report by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA has already concluded on more than one occasion that hydraulic fracturing – a 60-year-old technology – is safe.

o   Farm Labor Mandates (S.2247-B ONORATO / A.1867-B Nolan / S.7787 ONORATO)
This legislation would impose wage and schedule mandates on farms and makes the false assumption that these mandates will have no impact. These mandates will likely result in fewer jobs for farm workers and more of our food will be grown in other states and countries.

While Unshackle Upstate has been successful, a significant number of bills that will adversely impact job creators in the State of New York have advanced in one house or the other that were not a part of UU’s plan for Upstate.   Some of our representatives hoped that we weren’t paying attention and passed the following.

o   Service Worker Prevailing Wage Mandates (S.7096-A SCHNEIDERMAN / A.10257-A Gianaris)
This bill would amend the law to extend higher wage mandates to private businesses. Ultimately the legislation will translate into higher energy cost for all consumer including businesses, the elderly, schools, daycares, local governments and hospitals.  The bill passed the Senate 32-27 and the Assembly 90-43.  The bill now goes to the Governor for approval or veto.

o   Independent Contractor Classification (S.6194  FOLEY / A.8237-B John / S.5847-C ONORATO / A.9706-B (Part SS))
These bills would have a severe impact on the New York State construction industry, by applying an unnecessary definition of an independent contractor to the state’s labor law.   Passed Assembly 110-28, passed Senate 43-4.

So, why is this important to you?  Because we all need to know the state we’re in.  Slowly but surely, promises are being broken, bills are passed that are not in the best interest of the taxpayers of Upstate New York, and deals are being made.  And clearly not good deals.  It’s time that our elected officials started making deals that benefit us.  Perhaps a deal on a property tax cap.

If you’re familiar with the game show Deal or No Deal, I’ve always enjoyed when the host, Howie Mandel, asks the contestant if they will take the dealer’s deal on the show.  For about 4 or 5 seconds you’re on the edge of your seat wondering whether or not they will take the money.  So, as I sit on the edge of my seat, I ask…what’s up Albany?  Deal or no deal?

So, what do we do now? What we’ve been doing…we wait.  No matter the outcome, Judgment Day still approaches….just 116 days away!