Utica Chamber of Commerce

Utica Chamber of Commerce

Greater Utica Chamber of Commerce

The Greater Utica Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit organization of business-oriented members and professional staff dedicated to the development of a prosperous economic climate. It is the organization's aim to enhance commercial growth and the quality of life for all who reside in the Mohawk Valley region.

What are the top 3 planks of your campaign?

(1) 100% Clean Energy and Net Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2030: Enact the New York Off Fossil Fuels Act (NY OFF: A5105A/S5908A). It will create 100,000s of good jobs in manufacturing and construction, many business opportunities to build the system out, and lower electric rates when completed.

(2) Universal Single-Payer Health Care: Enact the New York Health Act (A4738/S4840). It will lower the costs of paying for health care for over 90% of us. It will reduce costs of providing employee health coverage.

(3) Fiscal Policy Reforms: Make the state pay for unfunded mandates and restore revenue sharing so local governments can cut regressive property and sales taxes. More progressive income tax: lower marginal rates for lower income brackets and higher marginal rates for millionaire brackets (top 1% gets 31% of all income in the state, up from 12% in 1980). Retain rather than rebate the stock transfer tax. Invest the increased revenue in local governments and infrastructure.

What are the top 3 issues impacting the businesses in your district?

(1) High Costs of Doing Business: Lower the costs of living and doing business by investing in public services and infrastructure that serve everyone more cost-effectively than corporate oligopolies. Public services and infrastructure are the public avenues for private commerce. Public health insurance, public power, public broadband, and a state bank like North Dakota's will provide better service at lower cost, improving business climate and state's competitiveness.

(2) Pay-to-Play Corruption: Rebuilding infrastructure is the alternative to subsidies, loan guarantees, and contracts for special interests who are big campaign contributors. Special favors to big donors is corrupt, inefficient, & disadvantages other businesses.

(3) Neglect of Upstate Economy: In addition to better infrastructure to lower the costs of doing business across the board, we need to target public investment to rebuilding manufacturing in upstate cities and towns and revitalizing the family farm economy.

Public Policy Positions

Please circle the number that most reflects your level of support for each of the following Greater Utica Chamber of Commerce Public Policy Positions (5=strongly agree, 1=strongly disagree)

Position #1

New York State mandates that certain public projects and procurements require a minimum level (30%) of subcontracting to be placed with certified Minority Business Enterprises and Women-owned Business Enterprises (MWBE's). The Greater Utica Chamber of Commerce is opposed to Governor Cuomo's proposal in his FY 2018-2019 budget to increase the MWBE subcontracting rate for spending of tax dollars from 30% to 53% for public construction contracts. We are opposed to these changes to protect the ability of local firms to compete for public sector projects, and to control the cost of public projects by avoiding unnecessary cost escalations due to a preference given to firms that may have submitted higher bids. Strongly Disagree

Position #2

The Greater Utica Chamber of Commerce opposes any further legislation that would include a City of Utica Room Occupancy Tax. Oneida County has one of the highest sales tax rates in New York State, there is already a 2% hotel occupancy tax imposed by the County for promotion of our area, and any additional taxes would further increase the cost to guests in the City of Utica relative to staying in neighboring communities. Strongly Agree

Position #3

The Greater Utica Chamber of Commerce supports establishing and maintaining enforceable ethical standards necessary for good and trustworthy systems of government in New York State. More than 30 lawmakers that have left office since 2000 are facing allegations of criminal or ethical misconduct. The Chamber, and many other good government groups, have been calling for true ethics reform, without any meaningful results. We continue to call for an independent ethics watchdog agency to investigate corruption including but not limited to elected official's conduct as well as oversight of state contracts. Strongly Agree

Position #4

The Greater Utica Chamber of Commerce supports developing a western tourism hub in Utica, NY, which has long been referred to as the "Gateway to the Adirondacks." Governor Andrew Cuomo announced plans to establish a tourism hub in the eastern Adirondacks at a cost of approximately $32 million in public and private funds. The Chamber believes the Greater Utica Area has numerous locations where a western hub could be developed. Strongly Agree

Position #5

The Greater Utica Chamber of Commerce opposes any expansion, extension or application of New York State's prevailing wage mandate to include private development projects that receive some degree of public and/or economic development support. It essentially targets smaller community-based projects, many of which receive a fraction of public funding, that are driven by local private dollars and development agencies. Any expansion, extension or application of prevailing wage would cause such projects to become financially unfeasible. Strongly Disagree

Position #6

The Greater Utica Chamber of Commerce supports the Utica City School District's efforts to secure its fair share of state aid that it has been entitled to but denied for too many years. The Utica City School District has been named the 3rd poorest school district in New York State. Using the State's own aid formula, the district is being denied millions of dollars in much needed state aid funding. Strongly Agree

Position #7

The Greater Utica Chamber of Commerce is in full support of the proposed new hospital in Downtown Utica as it will provide for the transformation of healthcare for the entire region as well as support the growth and economic initiatives of our communities, including but not limited to nanotechnology, research, education and business development. Strongly Agree

Position #8

The Greater Utica Chamber of Commerce opposes any legislation or regulation that would remove the requirement of public notices to be published in daily newspapers. The general public should not be tasked with researching information regarding their community on websites controlled by the Government, especially with the current transparency issues in Albany. Strongly Agree

Position #9

The Greater Utica Chamber of Commerce is in support of the concept of an entertainment "U District" around the Utica Memorial Auditorium. The positive energy and development in this area has strengthened the opportunity for further investment in Downtown Utica. However, as we support the proposed "U District", we are opposed to the proposed casino. We believe this casino would be competition for the nearby restaurants and taverns and therefore have a negative impact on these member businesses that have already invested in Downtown Utica and the Varick Street Area. Strongly Agree

Position #10

The Greater Utica Chamber of Commerce strongly condemns the current process of negotiating and voting on the New York State budget with virtually no input by rank and file legislators and the taxpaying public. This together with the complete lack of transparency is the ultimate breach of public trust. Strongly Agree

Position #11

The Greater Utica Chamber of Commerce fully supports the implementation of the New York State Route 5S Safety Project in the City of Utica. The project design aims to lower vehicle conflicts and accident rates. It would greatly improve pedestrian safety both on Route 5S and at the various intersections crossing Route 5S and it would create safe bike lanes providing bicyclists safety, access and mobility. Also, through streetscaping and additional parking, it will help support the continued economic revitalization as well as create an attractive and inviting gateway to Downtown Utica. Strongly Agree

Position #12

The Greater Utica Chamber of Commerce urges Governor Andrew Cuomo to veto his proposed legislation to expand the Paid Family Leave Act to include bereavement leave. With it's current language, businesses across the state could be devastated by the possibility that each full time employee could take an annual unscheduled leave of up to 60 work days for this purpose. In order to protect businesses in New York State from the undue financial burdens associated the overly generous leave time benefits, the Greater Utica Chamber is not in support of this expansion of a benefit that has only been in effect for just over 6 months.  Strongly Disagree

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