Job Creation Must be Job # 1

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Job Creation Must be Job #1

By Dean Skelos

People often ask me what my top priority is and I tell them it has never changed – creating private sector jobs. My Senate Republican colleagues and I are committed to creating a more business-friendly climate in New York so that businesses can grow and create jobs. During the past two years we’ve accomplished a lot to achieve this goal. In fact, 145,000 new private sector jobs were created in New York State last year.

The first thing we had to do was put an end to state government gridlock and get government functioning again for the taxpayers. Senate Republicans worked with Governor Andrew Cuomo to pass two early budgets that reduced state spending, cut taxes and resulted in the creation of new private sector jobs.

Families on Long Island have had to tighten their belts to make ends meet and so did state government. This year’s budget reduced spending by streamlining government and cutting the state bureaucracy.

As we reduced state spending, we were also able to reduce taxes.  We enacted the Middle Class Tax Cut and Job Creation Plan last December that reduced personal income tax rates to their lowest in 58 years. More than four million middle class taxpayer had their rates cut. The tax cut package also reduced taxes for manufacturing companies by $25 million to help create jobs.

Families on Long Island pay some of the highest property taxes in the nation. Senate Republicans worked with the Governor to enact a two percent property tax cap that is working to bring skyrocketing property taxes under control and finally provide relief to overburdened homeowners.

The job-killing MTA Payroll Tax was a direct hit on the budgets of every business, school and non-profit organization. Senate Republicans led the fight to repeal this burdensome tax for schools, non-profits, and 80 percent of small businesses that had been required to pay it. That’s 60,000 businesses on Long Island that will be able to reinvest these funds in their businesses.

In addition to cutting taxes, we have also worked with the Governor to make targeted economic investments to grow business and create jobs. This year’s budget included $150 million for the second round of Regional Council economic development awards funding to rebuild regional economies. The Long Island Regional Economic Development Council recently submitted its one-year progress report on 62 different projects involving a state investment of nearly $60 million. The Regional Council reported that these investments have retained or created 6,000 jobs and attracted a commitment of $81.5 million in additional economic investments.

Also included in this year’s budget is the “NY Works” program. This program accomplishes two goals: it will improve and rebuild the state’s roads, highways, and bridges and fund other critical infrastructure projects, while at the same time, create thousands of new jobs and help get our economy back on track.

Last year, the Senate passed its NEW JOBS-NY plan. This plan eliminated taxes on manufacturers and included cuts in corporate and personal income taxes for small businesses.  It also included  tax incentives for businesses to hire new employees and the plan reduced energy taxes.  We did not have a partner in the Assembly for these common sense-measures, but we will continue to pursue them.

The last two years in New York State government have been some of the most productive in recent memory. Senate Republicans are looking forward to an even better New York going forward. As we look to next year, we’re ready to tackle our economic challenges. New York is headed in the right direction towards a stronger economy, but as people and businesses continue to struggle, we know there is much more work to be done.

Dean Skelos is Majority Leader of  the New York State Senate and State Senator for New York’s 9th S.D. which includes The Five Towns

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