LIBC Hears Update from NYS Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan

LIBC Hears Update from NYS Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan

This past October, over 100 business leaders gather in attended of the Long Island Business Council meeting where NYS Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan was the guest speaker. The Senator covered support for small businesses, the need to protect local municipal control, prioritize smaller scale infrastructure projects supported by local communities, partnerships with local governments and meet the quality of life needs of the public.

NYS Senator John Flanagan, who is currently serving as the temporary President in addition to Majority Leader, spoke on efforts to strengthen the property tax cap in order to force municipalities to make more efficient and cost effective choices. Flanagan also spoke on how the tax cap has helped to encourage local governments to communicate and negotiate better in order to fit within the confines of the cap. He compared this with New York’s state budget, which has been under a 2% self-imposed state spending cap for the last five years, and expressed hope that such a cap will be codified.

The Senator went into detail on spending and the budget process, laying out how sudden increases in certain sectors could squeeze out other priorities and a need to balance the budget fully within a sensible increase. Flanagan noted that the governor is moving to lay out what priorities should be discussed now as opposed to waiting until right before the process is to be kicked off. Stating that while he appreciates this process, Senator Flanagan also made it clear that he feels the Governor has made it more difficult to make decisions to provide funding for not-for-profits, smaller projects, and in other sensible spending areas.

Finally, Senator Flanagan discussed the recent push by the Governor to raise the minimum wage, stating that the rise may lead to lower employment and excessive strain on business owners. He expressed the need to examine underlying issues such as savings for small business to offset wage increases and to examine the difference between a wage paid to a teenager for a summer job and an adult seeking to support his or her family. He also tied this to the rise of technology and automated point of sale systems, making them more attractive to business owners as an alternative to paying their employees a higher wage.

“Critical to those efforts is the Senate’s leadership in reducing the tax burden our business community faces and reducing the overwhelming regulations that inhibit growth”, said Senator Flanagan.

Flanagan closed out but addressing questions from the group and noting that he is committed to working with the governor on their common interests, however there is still a lot of work to be done in the area of communication and transparency.

Vision Long Island Director Eric Island spoke on behalf of the LI Lobby Coalition which presented the Senator as well as other officials with a list of 90 projects in 52 communities from 27 municipalities that could be considered for the upcoming $550 million of NYS investment. The LI Senate delegation and the Governor’s office will be making decisions on this funding soon.

Adrienne Esposito of Citizen’s Campaign for the Environment advised that among the requests for funding, the Lobby Coalition and others are calling for additional funding for the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant. The plant which treats over 42% of Nassau County’s sewage needs funding to move its outflow pipe from the bay to the ocean. As it stands, the pipe lets out into the bay which as significant weakened the wetlands that protect the surrounding communities. Some funding has been allocated to the project bringing it close to fruition, however the group is advocating for an additional $150 million to allow for the projects completion.

Several other speakers addressed the group providing updates including environmental issues, state funding available for projects throughout the island, the Small Business Savings Account Legislation, progress of the newly formed Suffolk County Alliance of Chambers, cuts to Suffolk County Bus Service and new efforts by the Nassau County Fire Marshall’s office.

Elected officials including NYS Senator Phil Boyle, Nassau Legislator Vincent Muscarella, and Oyster Bay Councilman Anthony D. Macagnone and Freeport Deputy Mayor Jorge Martinez joined us as well.