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OPINION: NYS Budget Creates Opportunities for Growth, Includes Risks

By Robert M. Simpson

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Following a year of economic turmoil and uncertainty created by the COVID-19 crisis, New York State passed its 2021-22 fiscal year budget [on April 7.]. The $212 billion plan includes funding that will advance important opportunities and drive progress across New York. Significant investments are rightfully being made in schools, childcare, and higher education, which will create long-term impact by supporting today’s workforce and tomorrow’s talent. 

Likewise, infrastructure investments will support projects like I-81 and will also provide local governments with increased resources for road and bridge maintenance and repairs. Perhaps the most impactful for our member businesses is the COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Program, for which we strongly advocated. It provides $1 billion in grants and tax incentives to companies with fewer than 100 employees — those that faced the most serious economic challenges of the pandemic.

While this funding is important, there are elements of the budget that miss the mark and are unsustainable as they put the state’s overall spending levels within striking distance of California’s state budget, though New York has half the population. Among the most significant points of concern is the hike in the corporate-tax rate on revenue above $5 million. Right now, businesses across the state are recovering from unprecedented hardships created by the COVID-19 pandemic and raising taxes will place an unnecessary burden on these economic engines. There is also significant risk of driving revenue out of New York by placing 50 percent of the income-tax burden on 2 percent of the population. New York’s competitive position is not improved by increasing our already-high tax rates.

We continue to review this budget and will work with state leaders to ensure businesses in the region can continue to grow and drive our economy forward. We encourage our members to connect with us about their concerns. To learn more about our advocacy work, contact Kevin Schwab, VP of public policy and government relations, at (315) 470-1944 or email: kschwab@centerstateceo.com.               

Robert M. Simpson is president and CEO of CenterState CEO, the primary economic-development organization for Central New York. This article is drawn and edited from the “CEO Focus” email newsletter that the organization sent to members on April 8.