2nd Annual Legislative Breakfast
The second annual Legislative Breakfast on August 1st was a proactive discussion about how to build a better Broome County. Over 170 business leaders and elected officials participated in this event. The conversations that took place at this event show the willingness of our community to come together and work to find solutions.
EJ McMahon of the Empire Center spoke on the business climate in NYS, Upstate, and in Broome County. His analysis provided a great starting point on which businesses could discuss with elected officials about their challenges and opportunities. His talk was titled “Upside Down The Widening Gulf Between Two New York’s”.
According to EJ, “New York’s employment increase since 2000 has been concentrated entirely downstate. Private employment in the Binghamton metro area as of 2018 was 14% below the 2000 level, a net decline of nearly 13,000 jobs. The private job count in the Binghamton area has never recovered to pre-recession levels.”
Upstate New York has also lost population relative to downstate New York. This is because upstate suffers from higher levels of domestic outmigration, meaning that many lifelong residents of our communities are leaving.
EJ said that there are 5 key things that lawmakers can change and our community can work to improve:
• cost of government
• labor regs
According to McMahon, the property tax cap was a big win for business and homeowners. Being able to have predictable property taxes and stability in this area is a critical component of creating growth.
A few bills that will wreak havoc from a business community standpoint are the statewide rent regulations, farm labor law and the climate change law.
EJ believes that because of the vast regional differences between Upstate and Downstate, it will be important to form a bipartisan coalition of upstate lawmakers and local elected officials to defend and promote upstate interests. Before the elections in 2018, nearly all of New York had majority representation in either the Senate or Assembly. Today, however, much of upstate is left without representation in a majority.
Elected officials at all levels of government can look to do three things to help businesses prosper in their communities; reform and reduce taxes, control cost-drivers, and clear impediments to growth.
The Chamber believes this event is critical to ensuring that the business voice is heard in Broome County. The connections made at this event have the possibility to create an increasingly thriving community.