Ilya Marritz covers business for WNYC.
Startling numbers: unemployment in NYC jumped a full percentage point, to nine percent in May. This after a couple months of mostly flat jobless numbers. The State Department of Labor also points out that more than half of the 400,000 jobs gained in the state between 2003 and 2008 have now vanished.
The Business Council of New York circulated an email in response, urging Albany lawmakers to reject a number of mostly Democratic bills they say will kill jobs, including "prevailing wage" measures and paid family leave. Of course, the continuing Senate deadlock is almost as good as a "no" vote.
“With New York’s unemployment rate increasing to a 16 year high, now is not the time for the State Legislature to place new and costly mandates on private sector employers,” said Kenneth Adams, president & CEO of The Business Council of New York State.
“Our state’s economy is in desperate need of private sector job growth. Proposals in Albany that would make New York a more expensive and difficult place to do business must be rejected,” said Adams. “We need our state’s policies to encourage job growth.”
The job-killing proposals that The Business Council is opposing include:
A bill (A.3659/S.1241) to require that "prevailing wages" -- essentially, union scale -- be paid on all Industrial Development Agency (IDA) projects. The measure would render worthless this job-creating financing method, because projects would cost too much.
A bill (A.8742/S.5791) to require New York employers to provide paid family leave -- through an enhanced insurance benefit -- for workers who care for family members in certain situations. New York would be one of only four states with such a requirement, harming our competitiveness.
A bill (A.8100) that would substantially raise the unemployment-insurance tax to pay for increased benefits. New York's employers paid $2.3 billion unemployment-insurance taxes in 2008, a total that would rise by nearly 15 percent in a single year under the legislation.
A bill (A.8646/S.5768) that would extend the unlimited power of the Martin Act to the plaintiff’s bar which would significantly increase the legal exposure of the business community and irreparably harm the New York State economy.
The Business Council is urging lawmakers to vote for bills to protect and create jobs:
A bill (A.5700/S.2898) to renew and make permanent the ability of IDA’s to fund “civic facilities” projects, such as not-for-profit health care, education and housing facilities, which would allow $2.5 billion in planned projects to move forward.
A bill (A.8803/S.5598A) that would assure continuation of Empire Zone benefits to businesses that have met their legal obligations and have made significant investments and added jobs in the state.
A bill (S.5839) to extend the Power for Jobs and Economic Development Power programs for another year, through June 30, 2010; these programs help reduce the cost of electric power for hundreds of energy intensive businesses across New York State. This program helps retain more than 300,000 jobs in New York.