Economic success requires an environment with comparatively little regulation, lower operating costs and reasonable taxes. Here in New York, it seems that we continue to face a regulatory climate that hampers business development, especially in Putnam which relies heavily on family owned small businesses to fuel the county’s economy.
For example, there is legislation before a NYS Senate committee (S4343) to be voted on May 9th which would allow restaurants to purchase their liquor through local liquor stores. In NYS there are very limited distributors who are known to charge higher than retail prices. The ability to purchase locally will also add more cash flow into our economy. “This is the first step towards changing the system for buying wine and spirits,” says Senator Bailey, “but if it does not pass the committee then we’re stopped in our tracks. We need you to call and/or email the members of the committee, whether they represent you or not, before Tuesday to express your support for the bill.”
New York State needs to lighten up on restrictive business legislation, and this starts with our local senators! Other laws enacted in 2016-‘17 prove that NYS has not shifted its position in favor of business. The window tinting law, for instance, signed by the Governor in November, requires auto shops to verify that tinted windows allow at least 70% of light into the vehicle to pass inspection, adding a time-consuming, unfunded reporting procedure of thousands of dollars to the annual cost of operation of these shops. These “little things” keep adding up.
The ongoing Minimum Wage hikes continue adding burdens to small business owners. Putnam County workers will see their minimum wage increase to $9.70 and another 70 cents every year until it reaches $12.50. Then it will increase based on an index until reaching $15. Many local business owners claim this burden may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
The bottom line: we need to be communicating with state representatives to ensure they are concerned about our business climate.
-Jennifer Maher, Chairwoman, the Putnam County Chamber of Commerce, “A business advocacy group”