Orange County Partnership - News

It’s Time to Fix What’s Broken and Focus on Our Future Prosperity

During these challenging times as we creatively find new ways to conduct business in isolation, we must prepare for the next chapter post-isolation. Most of us are drafting plans and formulating a roadmap for moving forward with a new vision.  

Our state is in dire financial straits and the federal government is doling out money like never before. But, even with the next round of stimulus funding, it won’t be enough. So, since we know where the money is coming from now, how do we replace the billions in lost revenue? The changes that will need to occur will take the courage of our elected officials and all Americans.

For years, during a thriving economy, New York State business leaders and economic development professionals recognized that there were monumental roadblocks that kept us from advancing opportunity that prevent billions of dollars of capital investment and millions of jobs from coming to New York State. We fought hard together and lost important battles that would have saved money, brought more projects into the pipeline sooner and supported our economy. It’s time we fix what’s broken, roll up our sleeves, make sacrifices and focus on finding a path to our future prosperity.

To name just a few ways we can turn things around, New York must:

  • Lower taxes including, income, sales, and unemployment insurance tax to competitively attract new business. 

  • Rather than writing grants to attract new business, create an environment where companies can thrive and won’t require monumental incentive packages to enter the New York market.

  • Streamline regulations to create a business-friendly environment.

  • Abolish the Scaffold Law.

  • Ramp up infrastructure investment. Infrastructure funding creates jobs, so when we spend it, new projects can be launched immediately.

  • Re-examine fracking and other forms of natural resources.

  • Reward municipalities and school districts for consolidation. (New York has the highest cost per pupil spending in the country).   

  • Create programs that support inter-municipal cooperation through the sharing of services.

  • Social programs must be restructured, earned and available only for essential needs.

  • Inheritance tax must be lowered to prevent millionaire flight.

  • Workforce/affordable housing and starter homes have to be available for our company workers to prevent youth (talent) flight.

  • Childcare regulations have made it impossible to keep up with demand. Pass reform measures to fix childcare issues facing employers and employees.

Some say the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are equal to the likes of the Great Depression. However, people were different during those times. People’s expectations were different. People didn’t expect to eat three robust meals a day, live in homes and drive cars they cannot afford and wait for the government to bail them out. 

An article in today’s newsletter entitled NY Budget Department Report Predicts Recovery from COVID-19 Downturn Will Take Longer than ‘Great Recession’ demonstrates what we must prepare for moving forward. 

It’s always been “the people” who bring change. We can use our voices and influence to find solutions to reinvigorate our economy, make the necessary sacrifices and move forward. 

My very best,

Maureen Halahan

President & CEO

Orange County Partnership