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CEO FOCUS: Prioritizing Legislative Policies to Drive Progress

By Robert M. Simpson


Our nation [recently] watched as new leadership came to power at the federal level, marking the first time both the President and Senate Majority Leader share a connection to Central New York. Their knowledge and ties to this community, and their ability to collaborate with state and local leaders, position our region to seize opportunities and address the significant challenges before us.

In the context of this new environment, CenterState CEO’s 2021 Legislative Agenda focuses on a series of state and federal legislative and policy priorities aimed at advancing our region. It is developed with input from our Government Relations Committee and issues identified by our members, taking into account key initiatives under consideration in Albany and Washington, D.C. that will have direct impacts on Central New York. This year’s top five priorities include:

Angel Investment Tax Credit: CenterState CEO supports the establishment of a NYS Angel Investment Tax Credit for investments of up to $500,000 for early-stage investments in companies with high growth potential.

COVID-19 Relief: [We] support assistance for impacted state and local governments, liability protection, and continuation of effective regulatory relief.

Economic Development: CenterState CEO supports the Endless Frontiers Act, which creates opportunities to develop new global tech centers of excellence by targeting mid-sized metropolitan regions, like Central New York, for investment in research, creation of new companies, manufacturing, and high-tech jobs.

Transportation + Infrastructure: [We] supports advancing the redevelopment of I-81, and advocates for a Community Grid Plus solution and community-focused workforce initiatives as part of the project. This project represents a $2 billion investment that will provide economic stimulus for the region. A Record of Decision is expected in 2021, and the initial phase of construction could begin in 2022.

NYS Income Tax: CenterState CEO rejects proposals to raise New York State income taxes, including those that introduce a new “millionaires’ tax” or a potential “wealth tax.” New York is already a high-tax state and further tax increases create competitiveness issues for talent attraction and business operations.

As we welcome new leadership, we are hopeful that Central New York will finally receive the kind of federal support needed to drive progress for our region through these initiatives. To learn more about our policy priorities, contact Kevin Schwab, VP of public policy and government relations, at (315) 470-1944 or email:

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 Jan. 21.

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