A guest viewpoint “Disappointed in Democrats but still hopeful,” appeared in the Elmira Star Gazette on December 29. Heather C. Briccetti, President and CEO of The Business Council of New York State, Inc., speaking for business interests, commends NYS Senate Democrats for recognizing the economic woes affecting upstate communities, suggests that a “truly substantive” plan is needed, and outlines certain proposals. What she suggests may or may not be measures that would “immediately improve the economy throughout the state,” but there is no doubt that they reflect Republican dogma.
- Reducing workers comp costs
- Making the property tax cap permanent
- Phasing out the 18-a energy assessment
- Lowering energy costs
- Scaffold law reform
- Opposes $15/hour minimum wage
- Blames Democrats for $14 billion in new taxes
Briccetti suggests that Democrats would do well to get their ideas for reforms from business interests. She echos upstate Republican propaganda which suggests that NYC is the root of upstate economic problems. How NYS government could lower energy costs, Briccetti doesn’t say.
(I don’t believe phasing out the 18-a surcharge would significantly lower energy costs. On my bill a recent charge is less than 1%.)
I fail to see any of Briccetti’s proposals which would “immediately improve the economy throughout the state.” Several might tend to shift the cost of NYS government from businesses to individuals. One in particular, opposing an increase in the minimum wage, would adversely impact low income workers and more than likely help keep upstate workers locked in poverty. Another, making the tax cap permanent, might adversely affect the ability of local governments and school boards to provide needed services to New Yorkers.
Briccetti’s suggestions might well benefit business at the expense of individual New Yorkers. However the idea that what is good for business is good for everyone is surely wrong.
Note: Per the Business Council, “Section 18-a of the New York Public Service Law authorizes the state to impose a fee on electric bills from public utilities to fund the operations of energy-related agencies and authorities.”