Date ArticleType
7/10/2017 Chamber News
Action at End of Legislative Session Can Help Business

We noted last week that ridesharing has come to Chautauqua County, under legislation approved by the Assembly and Senate this spring.  While a great deal of attention was focused on that transportation issue and free college tuition over the past few months, the State Legislature also approved some other items around education and information that are meaningful to potential students and to the business community.
One bill that was approved, calls for publishing a catalogue of workforce development funding programs, tax credits and annual outcomes.  This information would include annually updated information about the purpose of the funding programs, federally assisted programs, governing statutes and regulations, eligibility requirements, and most importantly, data on the outcomes and effectiveness of the program.   Having this information easily accessible to the public will not only assist employers in developing and finding workforce development funds, but bring awareness to training and education programs that directly connect people to careers. 

Workforce development is crucial for our economy.  The Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier and the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce have been working in tandem for years now with our Dream It Do It initiative to help create opportunities for students interested in technology education and manufacturing careers.  It is not only our mid-size and large businesses that are facing workforce challenges it is also an issue for many small businesses.  We look forward to improved transparency that this catalogue will produce as it will help employers better understand how their tax dollars are being spent as well as improve access to training opportunities.

We are also pleased that the state is working to draft an innovative iCenter to pilot technology products.  While it is challenging to meet the continual advancements in technology and software, this new technology innovation center will help to allow the state to test new products before purchasing them, which will help save the state money.  This is not a step around competitive bidding, but it will help to insure that technology procurements meet the needs, as well as safeguards, required to award a competitive bid.  The Business Council of New York State notes that a similar innovation center in North Carolina has led to cost savings of $7-million in renegotiated IT contracts.

Another piece of legislation that passed at the end of the session was the Buy American Act. We believe that this legislation opens the door for more discussion regarding how New York Manufacturers can play a more meaningful role in New York taxpayer funded projects. We agree with our colleague Randy Wolken, President and CEO of Manufacturers Alliance of Central New York and Manufacturers Alliance as he stated, “The passage of the Buy American Act at the end of session acts as a significant stepping stone and allows for continued dialogue on both the State and Federal level to determine how we can grow American manufacturing.  Buying American and balanced trade remain top priorities for our manufacturing sector and better policy will continue to strengthen our nation’s ability to remain globally competitive.”

Our organizations continually work to advocate on behalf of the local business community.  Whether your business is larger or small, we are tracking their progress of issues at the local, state, and national levels that make a difference for businesses, whether it’s in the arena of workforce development, transportation, or taxes.  Our goal is always to work towards a climate here where businesses can thrive.  

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