Chamber Legislative Agenda

Current Issues

Top Priorities

Business Climate Improvement

The Chamber will advocate for regulatory reforms that will improve the state’s current business climate. Current state policies are causing businesses and employees to out-migrate. Unless meaningful action is taken, New York State’s business competitiveness and our ability to attract and retain talent will not improve.


Education/Talent Development

Employers rely on a qualified and diverse workforce to successfully operate. A skilled and inclusive workforce is therefore critical to regional job growth and prosperity. The Chamber supports education policies, school funding, and workforce development initiatives that are available to all students and employees at all levels so that they are ready to enter and re-enter the job market


Property Tax Reform

Support a permanent property tax cap and include a reduction in the burden of unfunded state mandates on counties and localities as well as school districts.
Support the reduction of burdensome, outdated and complex business taxes.

State Mandate Funding

Support legislation that would require that all future state mandates or state mandated programs imposed on counties, municipalities or school districts must be funded by the state or not be imposed.

Support regulatory reform that reduces the unfunded mandates on not-for-profit organizations, an essential and substantial component of the area’s economy;
Support policies that promote the sharing economy and creative economy to ensure New York State’s competitiveness in these innovative marketplaces;

Business Climate Improvement

Tax Reform – Permanent Tax Cap & mandate relief, Reduction in personal income tax rates, repeal Wick’s Law.

Scaffold Law Reform

Support reforms to the Scaffold Law, which imposes absolute liability on employers and property owners when construction workers are injured in elevation-related accidents, regardless of whether the worker refused to use safety equipment or was impaired by drugs or alcohol. Any reform must adopt a comparative negligence standard which will level the playing field and reduce costs for businesses, farms, municipalities, school districts, and ultimately taxpayers. The cost of this outdated law to taxpayers is $785M/year & Business is $1.4B/year.

Education/Workforce Development

Workforce Development Funding

A well trained workforce is vital to a competitive business climate. We would like to see more funding to support workforce development programs and initiatives.

Workforce Attraction

Promote programs to bring new residents to upstate to work and live.

Affordable Workforce Housing

Create programs that provide funding and incentives to developers to construct affordable housing for moderate income families in the workforce.

State Funding for School Districts

Create a fair and equitable system for funding our school districts

Support increasing funding for community colleges with an emphasis on creating customized industry training and equipment. Community colleges play a vital role in our region’s economic development.

Support funding for increased training programs in the trades – plumbing, electricians, HVAC, carpenters, welders, etc.

Support additional school district funding for the development of technical training centers in every high school.


Health Care Cost Reductions

Review of the NYS specific health insurance mandates that add tremendous costs to insurance in NY, one of the top most expensive insurance states in the US. Examine the HRCA taxes that reimburse hospitals and how those costs are being affected by the ACA and other federal health insurance reforms. Health care costs must stay under control to reduce expense to businesses and small business owners.

Support the reinstatement of the Health Care Quality and Cost Containment Commission. This commission would provide lawmakers with a cost and efficacy analysis prior to a vote on health insurance mandates.

Support reforming the medical tort system to make costs more affordable and predictable.

Insurance Reform

NYS has the most restrictive and onerous insurance laws in the country forcing nearly every insurance carrier to create its own unique NY company in order to operate and comply. We need reform to insurance law to put us on an equal playing field with the other 49 states and hopefully through those reforms lower the cost of insurance.


Support additional funding and programs for improving roads, bridges, electrical grids, gas transmission, rail lines and ports.

Provide funding to upgrade our aging electric transmission system and energy production.

Support upgrading the state’s high-voltage electric transmission system in a manner consistent with competitive wholesale energy markets to make pricing more competitive in upstate communities.

Support green energy programs and incentives.

Support expansion of natural gas infrastructure and access to homes and businesses.

Support continued investment in our aging water and sewer infrastructure.

Rural Broadband Expansion

In order to be competitive we need support for the expansion of broadband in our county to allow us to grow our own businesses and attract new ones and to attract new residents to live and work in the county.

Economic Development/Tourism

Support increased funding and marketing of I Love NY program.

Support expansion of the Microenterprise Program funding as start-up businesses need a boost.

Support and funding for countywide incubator programs to nurture new innovative businesses with limited funding and resources to get started.

Support funding and programs for Main Street development and business attraction.

Support efforts to improve the availability of capital from both conventional and unconventional sources to attract investment for housing, retail, business expansion, mixed-use and other economic development projects.

Support the expansion of Opportunity Zones and the use of these zones to focus federal and state funding to new, innovative businesses and promote economic growth in these zones.