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Sen. Jim Seward

State Sen. Jim Seward. 


At the start of the legislative session, I pledged to advocate for state policies that would boost job opportunities across the state. Now, I have joined with my senate colleagues to advance the new Jobs and Opportunity Agenda. This comprehensive plan will improve our economic climate, encourage business growth, and give people a reason to make New York State their home.

The senate plan will save small businesses more than $1.1 billion in taxes, cut red tape, reduce regulatory burdens, invest in workforce development, and strengthen New York’s economic development programs.

Components of the Jobs and Opportunity Agenda will be included in the senate’s state budget proposal that will be acted on in March. Here are a few of the highlights.

Cutting Taxes on Small Businesses

To help New York’s vitally important small businesses succeed, the senate plan includes lower business, property, energy, and income taxes. It builds upon existing senate tax reduction successes by making the property tax cap and the two-percent state spending cap permanent. The plan also continues to support the implementation of the middle-class income tax cuts that mean $4.2 billion in relief to tens of thousands of small businesses. Additional tax cutting initiatives amounting to more than $1.1 billion in new savings are included.

Making New York a Leader in Job Training

Far too many businesses across our state are finding it difficult to locate and hire skilled, trained workers for positions that are available. The senate’s plan includes a Gateway to Opportunity package that includes major funding and smart reforms to help make New York a national leader in workforce development. Initiatives include:

Connect Veterans with Jobs: Create a veterans career assistance program within the SUNY and CUNY system to assist veterans with resume writing and employment placement services. Another measure would allow the rewarding of high school diplomas based upon military experience to any veteran who has served in active duty and was honorably discharged but was unable to complete their schooling;

Strengthen In-School Training Programs: Expand and make permanent the P-Tech School programs that prepare thousands of New York students for high-skills jobs in technology, manufacturing, healthcare and finance. The senate would also increase resources for Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs;

Promote Practical Skills and Experiences: Allow academic credit for high school students who participate in internships and other practical experiences. The senate also proposes that schools work to encourage participation in apprenticeships;

Equip College Students: Require SUNY and CUNY Board of Trustees to establish a grant program for community colleges to develop or improve training and workforce development programs to prepare the unemployed for jobs in the surrounding regions;

Cutting Red Tape and Overregulation

Businesses consistently cite New York’s overly burdensome regulatory practices as a major factor that hinders job creation and economic growth. The senate’s agenda includes a Streamlining for Success package that will reduce unnecessary red tape, improve our regulatory practices, and give more New York businesses the opportunity to succeed. It includes:

Prevent Regulatory Steamrolling: Curtail state agency overuse of the emergency regulation process to ensure it is only used in true emergency situations when necessary to protect public health and safety;

Improve the State Rulemaking Process: Reform the regulatory, licensing, and permitting processes to make them easier to understand, more responsive to businesses’ concerns, increase transparency, improve consistency, and reduce overly burdensome or unnecessary requirements;

Remove Speedbumps to Development: Create a new statutory “fast-track” process for certain economic development projects.

Finally, the plan would reform several of New York’s economic development programs and provide greater transparency to ensure tax dollars are being spent wisely and generating real job growth.

Lower taxes and better jobs – those are among the top concerns I hear from people every day. This Jobs and Opportunity Agenda addresses those concerns and will help rejuvenate the Empire State.