New York Ready to Take Another Toll on Business?

December 5, 2012 at 3:00 pm (Business, Governor Cuomo, New York, Steve McLaughlin, Thruway Authority, Toll Hike, Truckers)

Not merely content with holding this year’s position as the least business-friendly state in the nation, or ranking dead last for business tax climate, or even being named to the Top 10 list of states that Forbes considers to be in an economic “death spiral“, New York is showing once again that they remain unwilling to rest on their laurels, finding new ways to drive businesses away from the Empire State in droves.

The latest tactic?  A proposal by the Thruway Authority to enact a massive 45% toll hike on trucks – a concept that would cripple the trucking industry, pass costs on to consumers, and increase safety hazards while tangentially creating untold problems for the state’s highway infrastructure.

All the while referring to the plan straight-faced as a “modest” increase.

State Assemblyman, and vocal opponent of the plan, Steve McLaughlin, tells FreedomWorks that referring to the toll hike as “modest” is simply dishonest.

“It is anything but,” he opines.  “It’s a massive toll increase that follows on the heels of repeated toll hikes over the past years.”

McLaughlin, explains that the plan isn’t simply an economic burden on truckers and businesses alone either.
“It is nothing more nor less than a massive tax hike on the people of NY,” he said.

It was a little over a year ago that New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo launched a new marketing initiative called, “New York Open For Business“, which according to a press release, had the following aim:

The goal of the “New York Open for Business” initiative is to promote the many assets of investing in New York so the state can regain its reputation as a business-friendly location.

While the state itself may be open for business, the Thruway Authority is apparently trying to make conducting business as difficult as possible.

Via the Buffalo News:

The New York State Motor Truck Association insists that a 45 percent toll hike would cripple some firms and most assuredly result in trucking companies and their clients passing along the cost of the toll increase to consumers. Or some truckers could decide not to take the Thruway, cutting into the anticipated revenue stream.

McLaughlin also notes that a business decision to avoid the Thruway would create less-noticeable issues for the state.

“This action will lead to greatly increased wear and tear on roads that were not designed to handle big rigs, which in turn will result in increased cost’s to localities and the state to maintain those roads,” he says.
“Additionally, there is most definitely a safety issue involved if greater numbers of big rigs are using surface roads and a much greater risk of serious accidents.”

McLaughlin summarizes the impact, stating that the 45% toll increase on trucks “would be a disaster across the board”.

On this, there seems to be some bipartisan pushback against the Authority. Most notably, a former supporter of the plan in Governor Cuomo, is now referring to the possibility of a toll hike as “detrimental”, and urging officials to “get creative” in their efforts and avoid raising tolls on the 570-mile highway.

While some would see such a shift by the influential governor as damning to the Thruway Authority’s plan, McLaughlin says the fight is far from over.

“I believe they still intend to increase tolls and the fight now is over how much they will increase,” he says.  “Given the chance and given their past behavior, I firmly believe the Thruway Authority will hold a meeting and slam an increase through.”

Can a state ranking dead last in business-friendliness currently afford a toll increase that would devastate businesses and consumers alike?  Certainly not. And certainly not now in this economic client.

McLaughlin is urging Mental Recession readers to take action in the fight against a New York State Thruway toll increase.

“Please continue to spread the word about this issue and keep this in the spotlight,” he asks.  “Public pressure is vital.”

Now, more than ever.

Cross-posted at FreedomWorks

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Tax Report: New York Ranks Dead Last For Business

October 9, 2012 at 4:22 pm (Andrew Cuomo, Business, Business-Friendly, Economy, Governor Cuomo, New York, NY Works, Open For Business, Tax, Tom DiNapoli)

While the Cuomo administration has experienced what some would call an historic term in office, one aspect contributing to that description has been the Governor’s insistence that New York is open for business, promoting a new business-friendly atmosphere in the Empire state.

Just a few months ago, the governor had this to say about conducting business in New York:

“The focus of the administration has always been and will continue to be making New York work to help create jobs and grow businesses in every region of the state.  In the spirit of entrepreneurial government and through our New York Works initiatives, we have positioned the state as a partner to the private sector to encourage billions of dollars of new investment in nanotechnology and other growth industries.”

It was less than a year ago that Cuomo launched a new marketing initiative called, “New York Open For Business”, which according to a press release, had the following aim:

In recent years, businesses have left the state in record numbers and job losses have devastated local communities, giving New York the image of having one of the worst business climates in the nation. The goal of the “New York Open for Business” initiative is to promote the many assets of investing in New York so the state can regain its reputation as a business-friendly location.

Sad news to report today however, indicating that it doesn’t matter if you open your doors to business, if nobody wants to go inside and buy anything.

Via Capitol Confidential:

This is interesting in light of today’s scheduled events, which include an update on Wall Street’s contribution to the state economy by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and a NY Works meeting which is part of a Cuomo initiative to rebuild the state’s economy.

The Tax Foundation which, granted, looks askance at taxes, ranks New York dead last in terms of the business tax climate. They cite not just the income taxes but the state’s property taxes, unemployment taxes (overly complex and saddled with surcharges, they say) and overall complexity.

Here’s what they said:

Despite moderate corporate taxes, New York scores at the bottom this year by having the worst individual income tax, the sixth-worst unemployment insurance taxes, and the sixth-worst property taxes. The states in the bottom 10 suffer from the same afflictions: complex, non-neutral taxes with comparatively high rates.

Read the full report here.

Here is how the rest of the United States stacks up.

This of course, comes on the heels of a summertime report in which the Empire state was ranked dead last in business friendliness, and saw rankings drop in several other categories such as Quality of Life, Economy, Access to Capital, Cost of Living, and Infrastructure & Transportation.

As it stands now, doing business in New York under the Cuomo administration is an historically bad idea.

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Cox to Miner: Apologize For Incendiary Remarks

September 4, 2012 at 3:57 pm (Ed Cox, GOP, Governor Cuomo, New York, Sheldon Silver, Stephanie Miner, Vito Lopez)

New York GOP Chairman Ed Cox today released the following statement:

“Syracuse Mayor and state Democratic co-chair Stephanie Miner’s divisive attack on Republicans yesterday, calling the GOP ‘a party of hatred that wraps up their hatred in clever 30-second sound bites,’ is completely unacceptable and should not be tolerated, especially considering the circumstances.”

Miner’s harsh attack on Republicans follows the recent sexual harassment settlement scandal involving Democrats Vito Lopez and Sheldon Silver.

“State Chair Stephanie Miner should apologize for her hateful and unfounded attack on Republicans.  There is no room for that kind of language in the political arena.”

“On the other hand, Governor Cuomo has demonstrated a willingness to work with senate Republicans resulting in steps towards growth for New York including cutting the state’s budget, creating a new pension tier and championing fiscal reforms.  We call on the Governor to repudiate this hateful and embarrassing rhetoric.”

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Banner Weekend For NY Democrats – One Punished For Sexual Harassment, Another Announces They’ll Be Arrested

August 27, 2012 at 7:00 am (Andrew Cuomo, Brooklyn, Democrats, Ethics, Governor Cuomo, Grants, Harassment, New York, New York City, Non-Profit, Queens, Sexual Harassment, Sheldon Silver, Shirley Huntley, Taxpayer Money, Vito Lopez)

It’s been a very active weekend for Democrats, with a pair serving in the boroughs of New York City being part of some very rare activity over the weekend.

First off, Brooklyn Democrat Assemblyman Vito Lopez has been handed some very severe punishment stemming from what is being called “blatant instances of sexual harassment”.

The Standing Committee on Ethics and Guidance not only stripped him of his Housing Committee chairmanship, and cut off resources and funding from the Assembly, but his guilty actions prompted a ban prohibiting Lopez from hiring interns or any other employees under the age of 21.

That is the equivalent of a sexual predator being kept from that which tempts them.

The letter from Assembly Majority Speaker Sheldon Silver pulls no punches, providing such details as how Lopez harassed one woman forcibly kissing her and putting his “hand as far up between her legs as you could go”.  He also forced two women to continuously write to him about how much they loved their jobs and cared about him.

Here is a copy of the letter:
Vito Lopez Letter 8-24-12

Lopez has left a long trail of slime in Brooklyn, with rumors that other charges may be coming down the pike.  He has been the subject of multiple federal investigations as well as blatant instances of extreme cronyism.

Several Democrats have pushed for Lopez to resign as a result of these egregious charges, with the most damning perhaps being from the governor of New York himself.  Andrew Cuomo on Sunday joined a growing list of elected officials calling on Lopez to step down.

Next up on the list of corruptocrats from southern New York, is Sen. Shirley Huntley from Queens, who took the rare step of announcing her own impending arrest on Monday.

Huntley held an “emergency press conference” over the weekend to announce that she expects to be arrested on Monday.

She did not indicate what charges may be involved, though four employees of hers had been arrested last year based on an investigation of a non-profit organization in which Huntley had steered tax-payer funds.  The four who were indicted included a top aide and a niece of Huntley’s.

Leave it to city Democrats to get involved in a year’s worth of scandal in one weekend.

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Flags to Fly at Half-Staff For Lance Cpl. Gregory T. Buckley of Oceanside

August 15, 2012 at 3:46 pm (Afghanistan, Governor Cuomo, Gregory Buckley, Gregory T. Buckley, Hawaii, Helmond Province, Hero, Heroes, New York)

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has directed that flags on state government buildings be flown at half-staff on Thursday, Aug. 16, in honor of a New York Marine who died in Helmond Province, Afghanistan, on August 10.

Lance Cpl. Gregory T. Buckley of Oceanside died while supporting combat operations.  He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, of the 3rd Marine Division, a part of the III Marine Expeditionary Force based in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.

“I join with all New Yorkers in mourning the death of this brave Marine,” Governor Cuomo said.  “We will remember his service with pride and we extend our regrets of his loss to his friends, and fellow Marines.”

Governor Cuomo has directed that the flags on all State buildings be lowered to half-staff in honor of and in tribute to our state’s service members and those stationed in New York who are killed in action or die in a combat zone.

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Flags Flying at Half-Staff For Major Thomas Kennedy

August 14, 2012 at 12:00 pm (Afghanistan, Governor Cuomo, Hero, Heroes, Kennedy's Angels, New York, Sarkowi, Thomas E. Kennedy, Thomas Kennedy, West Point)

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has directed that flags on state government buildings be flown at half-staff on Tuesday, August 14, in honor of a New York Soldier who died in Sarkowi, Afghanistan on August 8.

Maj. Thomas E. Kennedy, of West Point, died when an insurgent detonated a suicide vest. He was assigned to the Headquarters Company of the 4th Infantry Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team based at Fort Carson, Colorado.

“Along will all New Yorkers I mourn the loss of this outstanding officer,”  Governor Cuomo said. “We will remember his honorable service to our nation and we are grateful for his dedication to duty.”

Governor Cuomo has directed that the flags on all state buildings be lowered to half-staff in honor of and in tribute to our state’s service members and those stationed in New York who are killed in action or die in a combat zone.

Links to a donation page for his beautiful kids can be found here…

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Flags Flying at Half-Staff For Two Fort Drum Soldiers Killed in Afghanistan

August 3, 2012 at 12:00 pm (Afghanistan, Bobby Estle, California, Flags, Governor Cuomo, Half-Staff, Hero, Heroes, Jose Belmontes, New York, Ohio)

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has directed that flags on state government buildings be flown at half-staff on Friday, August 3, 2012 in honor of two Fort Drum soldiers who died in Wardak Province, Afghanistan on July 28.
Private 1st Class Jose O Belmontes from La Verne, Calif., and Sgt. 1st Class Bobby L. Estle, of Lebanon, Ohio died of injuries sustained from enemy small arms fire.  Both soldiers were assigned to the 630th Engineer Company of the 7th Engineer Battalion of the 10th Mountain’s 10th Sustainment Brigade.
“I join with all New Yorkers in mourning the loss of Private 1st Class Belmontes and Sgt. 1st Class Estle and send my deepest sympathies to their family, friends, and fellow soldiers,” Governor Cuomo said. “We will honor the service of these Fort Drum soldiers and we will be forever grateful for their dedication to our nation.”
Governor Cuomo has directed that the flags on all state buildings be lowered to half-staff in honor of and in tribute to our state’s service members and those stationed in New York who are killed in action or die in a combat zone.

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Flags to be Flown at Half-Staff For Sergeant Jose J. Reyes and Sergeant A. Rodriguez

July 23, 2012 at 3:00 pm (Afghanistan, Daniel A. Rodriguez, Ghazni City, Governor Cuomo, Hero, Heroes, Jose J. Reyes, New York, Sergeant Reyes, Sergeant Rodriguez)

God bless them and their families…

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has directed that flags on state government buildings be flown at half-staff on Tuesday, July 24, in honor of two Fort Drum soldiers who died on July 18.

Sergeant Jose J. Reyes and Sergeant Daniel A. Rodriguez died when their vehicle was struck by an enemy improvised explosive device in Ghazni City, Afghanistan. They were assigned to the 548th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 10th Sustainment Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, based at Fort Drum. Sergeant Reyes was from San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico, and Sergeant Rodriguez was from Baltimore, Maryland.

“I join with all New Yorkers in mourning the loss of Sergeant Reyes and Sergeant Rodriguez.” Governor Cuomo said. “I send my deepest sympathies to their families, friends and fellow soldier. We will honor the service of these two Fort Drum soldiers and we will be forever grateful for their dedication to our nations.”

Governor Cuomo has directed that the flags on all state buildings be lowered to half-staff in honor of and in tribute to our state’s service members and those stationed in New York who are killed in action or die in a combat zone.

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Despite Cuomo’s Claims, New York Ranks As Least Business-Friendly State in the Nation

July 12, 2012 at 7:00 am (Andrew Cuomo, Business, Business-Friendly, Cost of Living, David Paterson, Democrat, Economy, Education, Governor Cuomo, Jobs, New York, Open For Business, Republican, Unemployment)

While the Cuomo administration has experienced what some would call an historic term in office, one aspect contributing to that description has been the Governor’s insistence that New York is open for business, promoting a new business-friendly atmosphere in the Empire state.

Just a few weeks ago, the governor had this to say about conducting business in New York:

“The focus of the administration has always been and will continue to be making New York work to help create jobs and grow businesses in every region of the state.  In the spirit of entrepreneurial government and through our New York Works initiatives, we have positioned the state as a partner to the private sector to encourage billions of dollars of new investment in nanotechnology and other growth industries.”

It was less than a year ago that Cuomo launched a new marketing initiative called, “New York Open For Business”, which according to a press release, had the following aim:

In recent years, businesses have left the state in record numbers and job losses have devastated local communities, giving New York the image of having one of the worst business climates in the nation. The goal of the “New York Open for Business” initiative is to promote the many assets of investing in New York so the state can regain its reputation as a business-friendly location.

Those efforts to regain the state’s reputation as being business-friendly were to involve spending anywhere between $10 and $50 million.

According to a new report from CNBC however, the state has plummeted eight spots overall in a list of America’s Top States For Business 2012.  The list ranks all 50 states in categories they use to sell themselves to businesses.  New York dropped from the previous year’s rankings in 6 of the 10 categories … including business-friendliness.

New York’s rank in that coveted category?  Dead last.

Overall, the Empire state dropped from 26th to the 34th top slot for business.  In the individual categories, New York saw a decline in Quality of Life, Economy, Business-Friendliness, Access to Capital, Cost of Living, and Infrastructure & Transportation.  The latter category seeing the most dramatic loss, going from 14th in the nation to 39th.

The chart comparing 2012 and 2011 results can be seen below…

The numbers are strikingly similar to David Paterson’s term in office in 2009, before he improved them in the 2010 election year.
According to CNBC’s report, the business-friendly numbers have declined in each year since Cuomo’s election in 2010.
The news wasn’t all bad however, as New York ranked first in the nation for Education, and Technology & Innovation.

Curiously, when looking at the overall list, states with Republican governors dominated as having reputations that are considered business-friendly.  According to Human Events:

You’ll also notice similarities between states that rank high on the CNBC list — namely that most of the leadership in those states supports economic policies that mirror the national Republican platform.

Here are the top 20 most-friendly business states according to CNBC:

  1. Texas
  2. Utah
  3. Virginia
  4. North Carolina
  5. North Dakota
  6. Nebraska
  7. South Dakota
  8. Colorado
  9. Georgia
  10. Wyoming
  11. Minnesota
  12. Iowa
  13. Idaho
  14. Indiana
  15. Kansas
  16. Tennessee
  17. Wisconsin
  18. Oregon
  19. New Hampshire
  20. Arkansas

Seven out of the 10 states featured in the top 10 have both Republican governors and legislatures.  By contrast, within the bottom dwellers, six of 10 have Democrat monopolies on state government.

This, after another report showed that every single one of the 17 states that elected a Republican governor in 2010, saw a drop in their unemployment rates.

By contrast, during that same time frame the unemployment rate in New York has climbed.

Looks like Governor Cuomo has some more work to do to reach those sought after historic levels.

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Hall of Heroes: Flags to Fly at Half-Staff For Major Paul C. Voelke

June 26, 2012 at 3:47 pm (Afghanistan, Governor Cuomo, Heores, Monroe, New York, Paul C. Voelke, Paul Voelke)

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has directed that flags on state government buildings be flown at half-staff on Wednesday, June 27th in honor of a New York soldier who died in Afghanistan on June 22.

Major Paul C. Voelke died in Mazar E. Sharif while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.   He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, based at Fort Stewart, Georgia,  Major Voelke was from the Town of Monroe.

“I join with all New Yorkers in mourning the loss of Major Voelke and I send my deepest sympathies to his family, friends , and fellow soldiers,” Governor Cuomo said.  “We will be forever grateful for his service and his dedication to our nation.

Governor Cuomo has directed that flags on all state buildings be lowered to half-staff in honor of and in tribute to our state’s service members and those stationed in New York who are killed in action or die in a combat zone.

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