Speaking on behalf of the upstate business community, as it represents more than 70,000 employers, Unshackle Upstate touted the very recent achievement of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the legislature.
"Finally, we have a governor who is willing to lead by example and legislative leadership who share and support his vision for a stronger New York,” said Brian Sampson, executive director of Unshackle Upstate. “By capping education and Medicaid spending and establishing Regional Economic Development Councils, this budget sends a powerful message that New York is on the road to recovery.”
Sandy Parker, a co-founder of Unshackle Upstate and leader of the Rochester Business Alliance, characterized the budget as a solid first step toward getting the state's spending under control. She added, "Now with the budget behind us, we look forward to moving on to equally important issues, such as implementing a property tax cap.”
These sentiments were echoed by the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, the North Country Chamber of Commerce and MACNY.
Sampson argued that it is important to build on the momentum of the budget's passage with a couple key proposals, mainly the passage in the Assembly of the property tax cap and serious mandate relief to accompany it. "It’s imperative that they take immediate action to enact a 2-percent property tax cap; provide real mandate relief for our local schools and governments; and reform the public-sector pension system," said Sampson.
The following are portions of the budget that Unshackle Upstate and its allies were particularly happy with:
No new taxes;
Reduction in overall state spending by 2 percent;
Education and Medicaid spending caps;
Creation of Regional Economic Development Councils;
Merger of state agencies;
Repeal of the industrial development authorities tax;
Two-year suspension of diesel retrofit requirement; and
Creation of the Recharge NY Power Program
Key business leaders from Rochester, Binghamton and Syracuse signaled their support the 2011-12 budget.