Chamber/MAST supports Tier VI pension plan
By TODD J. TRANUM
President & CEO of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce & Executive Director of the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier
The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce and Manufacturers Association support Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposal to add a sixth tier to New York's public employee pension plan.
The measure has come under fire from State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who believes it would cost New York state government anywhere between $7 million and $16 million to start up and operate the altered system, with additional costs expected to be passed along to local governments.
On the other hand, Cuomo believes a tier VI would save the state more than $100 billion over the next 30 years. His proposal would implement a new defined benefits system for the future workforce, but would not affect current employees. It would also provide an opportunity for new employees to enroll in a 401K-style retirement account, similar to what most private-sector employees are currently offered.
New York state's budget is in need of reform in several areas. Two of them are critical for the future of the state's fiscal health: Medicaid spending and pension reform.
According to an analysis by the Business Council of New York State, failure to adopt the new Tier VI program means New York taxpayers will be saddled with an additional $123-billion tax burden. This is not acceptable. Our state must take action to curtail spending, and Tier VI is one step in the right direction.
To make your voice heard in favor of the Tier VI plan, the Business Council has set up an e-advocacy campaign at fixnys.org. We encourage Chamber/MAST members to join in the call for this much-needed change.
Social media training offered
To many people, the term "social media" equates to Facebook and Twitter. In reality, it goes much further than that truly speaking to a type of networking that used to happen only face-to-face and now happens digitally. For social media to be effective for business, it requires a new type of strategic thinking, and an integration of business websites with Facebook, Twitter, blog sites, YouTube, LinkedIn, Google+, and more. That doesn't even speak to the issue of online sales, through a variety of sites, or the fact that much of this networking now occurs on tablet computers and phones.
While some businesses have embraced these new technologies, others fear it. But the Center for Continuing Education and the Small Business Development Center at Jamestown Community College are working to help business people cut through the e-clutter and figure out how to make social media work in their favor.
Social Media Day at JCC will be held Wednesday, March 28, with a focus on electronic networking for business. Topics will include Writing for Your Website, Branding, iPad for Business, Non-Traditional Marketing, and Blogging for Business. If you have a website or Facebook page for your business, you will want to attend this important event. The event will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cost is $54 per person, including lunch. It will be held at the Carnahan Center on JCC's Jamestown campus.
In addition, grant funding from the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation, and the Knight Foundation, is allowing the Chamber of Commerce to help even further. As a follow-up to the one-day event, Chautauqua County businesses will be able to participate in trainings specific to certain social media sectors in the months ahead. These sessions are open to Chamber members and non-members alike.
We strongly encourage you to take at least a baby step into social media for your business. Join JCC for this day-long event, and then participate in a follow-up training program that will be meaningful for you.
As consumers gravitate more toward the Internet on their phones, we need to work hard to keep local businesses in their sight and minds. This is the next wave of business online. The Chamber is ready to help you navigate these new sales tools.
To sign up for Social Media Day at JCC, contact the Center for Continuing Education at (716) 338-1005, or visit their website at www.sunyjcc.edu/continuing-education.
Fredonia Community Chamber business after hours
The Fredonia Community Chamber of Commerce will hold a Business After Hours networking event on Wednesday, March 21 from 5-6:30 p.m. at Buster Brown Bean Company. This event is open to Chamber members and their guests. For more information, contact the Fredonia Community Chamber of Commerce at (716) 679-1565.