Chamber of Commerce Chautauqua Business Weekly

Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce and
Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier
State Budget is a Mixed Bag
By Todd J. Tranum, President & CEO
As we see almost every year, the New York State budget for this new fiscal year contains some pluses for business and some minuses. It’s a traditional mixed bag.
One very positive item contained in the stacks of legislation for this year is a move that makes permanent a two percent cap on property tax increases for municipalities and school districts. We are very pleased to see this. Since the tax cap was implemented in 2012, local property tax increases have averaged 2.9 percent, compared with the 5.3 percent average increase from 2000 to 2010. The Business Council of New York State points out that business properties account for about 40 percent of all real property taxes paid statewide. So this is a significant move that will benefit not only businesses, but also residents, as we all work towards making New York a more affordable place to live, work, and do business.
All employers will be required to provide three hours of paid time off for the purpose of voting. This is an increase from the current two paid hours allotted, but employees will no longer have to demonstrate that they are unable to vote outside of normal working hours.
The state budget allocates $750-million for distribution through the annual regional economic development process, which has results in substantial benefits to Chautauqua County in the Western New York region. It also creates a new searchable public database of projects receiving economic development assistance, in a move towards accountability and transparency that leads the state in the right direction.
Some infrastructure funding is included in the new budget, including $150-billion to support projects statement, plus a $500-million plan to invest in clean water projects.
Environmentally, the state’s new ban on single-use plastic bags is sound, but it may pose some challenges to the retail and grocery industries.
An overall increase of $1-billion for school aid is designed to prioritize funding needs for schools in economically challenged areas. Education is fundamentally linked with workforce development, and we welcome important additional funding for schools that helps to build the workforce of our future.
MAST to Welcome Bob Roitblat
TED Talks speaker and consultant Bob Roitblat will be the keynote speaker for the Annual Meeting of the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier, to be held Thursday, May 2, at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Jamestown.
Mr. Roitblat is the CEO of Mainsail Consulting Group, where he has combined his experiences in business and as a competitive sailor to draw parallels between winning a yacht race and building a winning business. He has more than 30 years’ experience running companies from all phases of their existence, from start-up to sale. He also has consulted with and supported enterprises across a broad range of industries including technology, distribution, manufacturing, NGO’s, and professional services.
“Innovation is your only insurance against irrelevance, the only antidote to margin-crushing competition, and the only guarantee of enduring customer loyalty,” Mr. Roitblat says.
During his talk he will discuss how businesses can harden themselves against potential economic downturn, enabling them to not only survive, but to become more resilient and thrive during periods of turbulence; how they can develop innovative practices that enable members to more easily adapt to changing market conditions; and how to apply innovation beyond just new products and services but to dig deeper into operations and communications.
The MAST Annual Meeting is sponsored by Media One Radio Group, OBSERVER, The Post-Journal, and Univera Healthcare Southern Tier. Additional sponsorships are available and include an opportunity to attend a round table discussion with Bob Roitblat prior to the dinner and annual meeting. For information, please email Guy Ditonto.
The cost to attend is $50 per person. Meal selections are an eight ounce center cut sirloin, pan seared salmon, or pasta primavera. The social hour begins at 5:30 with dinner at 6:30. Reservations are required by April 25. To register, please call the Chamber/MAST office at (716) 484-1101. You may also register online. Credit card payments will be accepted at the door.