By TODD TRANUM
President & CEO of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce & Executive Director of the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier
The 2014 State Legislative session has come to an end, with a number of successes for the business community. Key accomplishments include a tax reform package aimed at reducing tax burdens for key economic sectors that will provide employers with an estimated $560 million in tax relief, and a fourth consecutive on-time budget that holds the line on spending increases. As a result of the budget, the state's credit rating was just upgraded to its highest level in 50 years. This is a great achievement for the state and very good news for our business climate.
Heather Briccetti, president and CEO of The Business Council of New York State, said the credit rating "reflects a significant turnaround in the management of the state's fiscal affairs."
She added, "Governor Cuomo has led this turnaround and should be congratulated for this accomplishment, as should his partners in the State Senate and Assembly. This is important progress, but not the end of the story. The same bond rating announcement talked about future risks as well, including structural budget deficits. The state also needs to address the pending expiration of more than $2 billion a year in temporary income tax revenues."
We agree that our state's leaders should be applauded for their important efforts to work together on these issues. We also agree that there is more work to be done. The state's private sector job growth has been nearly three times the national rate since 2008. Most of that growth has been downstate, while the upstate region has been flat.
Manufacturing is a key to job growth in upstate New York. The state legislature this year approved a measure that will provide additional funding for educational institutions, non-profits, and public-private partnerships to help train and certify individuals for advanced manufacturing careers. Our Chamber and Manufacturers Association are deeply involved in these issues through our Dream It Do It initiative and through the Chautauqua County Education Coalition.
There was some good news for local tourism in this legislative session as well. State lawmakers, recognizing the importance of professional baseball both culturally and economically, have approved a plan to improve the awareness of minor and independent league baseball teams by creating baseball trails statewide. This is especially good news for Jamestown, which is focused on improving ticket sales and attendance at the Jamestown Jammers games this year in order to maintain our economically important professional baseball presence here.
Overall, we see New York's lawmakers taking steps in the right direction for all sectors of our diverse economy. We look forward to more change in the future that will help to grow private sector jobs statewide.
Special County Fair Preview Night for Chamber members
Once again this year the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce will provide its members with a special preview evening and networking event at the Chautauqua County Fair. This special Chamber event is scheduled for Thursday, July 17 from 5-6:30 p.m. You can enjoy fair food, stroll along the midway, and have a great evening with other Chamber members and friends!
This event is sponsored by Chadwick Bay Broadcasting/WDOE/KIX96, DFT Communications, Fredonia Place, GPI Greenman-Pederson, Jamestown Jammers Baseball, Nestle Purina PetCare, OBSERVER, The Post-Journal, and WJTN/WWSE/WKSN/WHUG/WQFX.
The cost is just $10 for pre-registered guests, or $12 for walk-ins. You can register online at www.chautauquachamber.org, or call the Chamber at 484-1101 or 366-6200.
Chamber Golf Tournament Aug. 14
The 2014 Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce Annual Golf Tournament will be held Thursday, Aug. 14 at Peek'n Peak. This year's event offers golfers a chance to play on the Peek's Upper Course - a championship caliber course which offers optimum playing conditions in a spectacular setting. A portion of the proceeds from this annual event benefit the Tom Baressi Scholarship Fund through the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation.
The Chamber Golf Tournament is being sponsored this year by DFT Communications, Community Bank NA, Cummins, Inc., Dahlstrom Roll Form, Fredonia Place, Jamestown Business College, Jamestown Mattress Company, Lake Shore Savings Bank, Lawley-Tradition LLC, National Grid, National Fuel Gas and Shults Auto Group.
For more information or to register, visit the Chamber website at www.chautauquachamber.org, or call 484-1101 or 366-6200.
Chamber members invited to submit photos
Members of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce are invited to submit photos of their events throughout the year for use in Chamber publications and online. We are always seeking ways to help recognize our members, and we invite you to submit photos to the Chamber that could be used in a variety of ways including the annual Business Builder Source Book, the Chamber's Value of Membership brochure, and on our website or Facebook pages.
If you are a Chamber member and have photos of your business or a community event, email them to Sheila Webster at email@example.com. Photos must be high resolution for print use. By emailing your photos to us, you acknowledge that you have rights to the photo content and are authorizing the Chamber of Commerce to use it with the photo credit you provide.