Monthly Archives: October 2013

SoHo Business Improvement District

New York City Mayor Bloomberg recently signed legislation establishing the SoHo Business Improvement District in Manhattan. The community organization will promote business development and quality of life.

More than one hundred and thirty retail establishments along Broadway between Houston and Canal Streets will participate.

The SoHo BID is the 68th BID established in New York City.


Economic impact of casinos

Heather C. Briccetti, Esq., president and CEO of The Business Council is featured in YNN’s look at the economic benefit of casinos that would be built in New York state with the passage of Proposal 1 this November.

On November 5, voters will consider an amendment that would expand casino gambling in New York which would lead to four casinos in the Southern Tier, the Albany area and the Catskills.

Briccetti points out that New York already has legalized gambling with a state-run lottery, racinos and Indian-run casinos and that voting for Proposal 1 will positive for the state, leading to additional municipal and educational revenues.

A new New York Times/Siena Poll shows that New York City voters will likely support the passage of Proposal 1 on November 5, with 60 percent supporting ballot language that allows casinos in New York state.

New York City is home to about 40 percent of the state’s registered voters, and the New York Times says Election Day turnout is expected to be high this fall due to the New York City mayoral race.

The ballot language illustrates the benefits to job growth and educational funding that will be seen if the measure passes.

Business Council urges education agenda to build a skilled workforce

Today, The Business Council of New York State, Inc. testified at a New York State Senate Education Committee hearing illustrating the need to support Common Core standards, innovative learning models and access to early learning opportunities that will help prepare New York students to meet workforce needs.

“The success of New York’s economy depends on building a skilled workforce,” said Heather C. Briccetti, Esq., president and CEO of The Business Council of New York State, Inc.  “Many students today are unprepared to meet the needs of the workplace ─ despite the fact that New York has talented teachers and students ─ supporting Common Core, innovative learning models and early learning opportunities will help bridge the gap.”

These initiatives will foster an educational system supporting a trained workforce that is critical to the state’s economic health.

Members of The Business Council frequently cite difficulties in finding qualified workers.

Read more on The Business Council website.

Business Council supports Adirondack land swap

The Business Council of New York State announced its support for Proposal 5 on the November election ballot, a constitutional amendment that will help protect manufacturing jobs and strengthen the overall economy in the Adirondack Region.

The proposed amendment will authorize New York to provide a major north country employer, NYCO Minerals, with temporary use of a 200-acre tract of state Forest Preserve land that lies immediately adjacent to NYCO’s active wollastonite mine in the Essex County Town of Lewis.

NYCO’s active mine has just a two-year supply of wollastonite remaining. By acquiring temporary use of the neighboring state land, NYCO will be able to extend the life of its Adirondack operations and its 100 jobs by approximately a decade. In return for this temporary use, NYCO will provide New York state with 1,500 acres of Adirondack forestland that will be added to the Forest Preserve and opened for public recreation. At the conclusion of NYCO’s work on the 200-acre tract, the company will reclaim and replant the land and return it to state ownership, while allowing the state to keep the 1,500 acres.

Read more on The Business Council website.

Leader of IBM PC team, William C. Lowe dead at 72

The early years of desktop computing were dominated by Apple and at one point in the late 70s, it looked as if computer giant IBM would be lost in Apple’s desktop-dust. That’s when William C. Lowe pitched his bosses at IBM on new idea. He would assemble a team, to conceive, engineer and manufacture a product to compete with Apple in one year: Revolutionary thinking in a company that dominated the mainframe computer industry, but was not known for being nimble.

Lowe’s team bypassed IBM’s proprietary development model and instead used parts and software made by a growing industry of outsiders. These outsiders included a company from Washington State called Microsoft. The IBM Personal Computer or PC, ran on the Microsoft Disc Operating System (MS-DOS 1.0). The microprocessor for the PC was made by Intel. In August 1981, IBM unveiled the 5150 Personal Computer which sold for about $1,500 excluding the monitor. IBM sold the new product through retailers like Sears. The PC was born.

IBM and Microsoft agreed to manufacture software that would not be exclusive to IBM machines. This commitment to open architecture cleared the way for other companies like Compaq and Dell to manufacture IBM compatible PC clones. The PC industry was born.

Lowe left IBM in 1988 to take a position with Xerox. He helped the company expand its product line beyond copiers.

According to Lowe’s daughter, he died of a heart attack. He was 72.

Study finds retiree health benefits potential catastrophe for state

A study by the Empire Center for New York State Policy finds that the lifetime health benefits promised to state workers could cause a major financial crisis. The study estimates the state’s liability for public sector health insurance comes to a staggering quarter-of-a-trillion dollars. No money was set aside for this benefit, which is available to most public employees after only 10 years on the job.

Unlike pensions, retiree health care is not guaranteed by the state constitution, which means lawmakers could restructure the benefit. The author of the Empire Center study recommends three possible steps:
• Preserve health benefits for employees who have already retired but require them to pay a larger share of their premiums
• Reserve the greatest benefit for those who have worked the longest
• Eliminate retiree health insurance coverage for all new hires and shift them into a retirement medical trust

Many New York exchange enrollees signed up for Medicaid

Of the 37,000 New Yorkers who had by last week successfully signed up for insurance coverage through the Exchange, two-thirds actually joined Medicaid rather than purchased commercial insurance.

The Affordable Care Act depends for success upon the participation in the marketplace of young, relatively healthy people buying insurance, but early enrollees are disproportionately gathered on the non-paying side of the equation:Medicaid.

The ACA expanded Medicaid to include families with a slightly higher income level: $23,550 for a family of four rather than $18,330. The federal government is paying for 100 percent of the cost of this expansion for the first three years; by 2020 it will pay for 90 percent.

Times Union guest essay touts tax reform

An opinion piece published inSaturday’s Albany, N.Y. Times Union by Brian McMahon, executive director of the New York State Economic Development Council, argues for broad tax reforms to build on and sustain economic recovery in New York.

McMahon suggests that Governor Cuomo’s Task Force on Tax Reduction focus on three main reforms: (1) reducing personal income tax rates, (2) repealing New York’s estate tax or aligning it with the federal estate tax, and (3) repealing the corporate income tax for manufacturers. His full essay can be read here.

The tax-reduction panel will be chaired by former Governor George Pataki and former State Comptroller H. Carl McCall. Heather C. Briccetti, president of the Business Council of New York State, has been appointed to the panel as well. Its recommendations are due to the Governor by early December.

Obama visits Brooklyn tech school Friday, praises educational partnership

On Friday, President Obama paid a visit to a highly successful new school in Crown Heights: Pathways in Technology Early College High School, or P-Tech. Founded in 2011 through a partnership with IBM and in collaboration with CUNY,  P-Tech offers high school students a college-level curriculum in computer programming and electromagnetic engineering.

P-Tech has no academic screening for admission, but its rigorous program of high-level classes allows students to emerge from a six-year program with both a high-school degree and an associate degree, and puts them first in line for a job with IBM.

Obama had praised P-Tech in his State of the Union address for its innovative program, and on Friday spoke about the importance of education in providing skills for American workers in a global economy.

Coalition urges Governor Cuomo to include reform to “Scaffold Law” in Executive Budget

A coalition of over fifty advocacy groups representing small and large businesses, developers, insurers, builders, contractors, municipalities and taxpayers recently issued a joint letter to Governor Cuomo and his top budget staff urging that reform of New York’s “Scaffold Law” be included in the 2014-15 Executive Budget.

The Scaffold Law, which dates back to the 1885, holds contractors and property owners fully liable in lawsuits for gravity-related construction injuries, regardless of partial contributing fault by a worker. Scaffold Law lawsuits, which comprised 16 of the top 30 settlements in New York in 2012, are responsible for escalating insurance and building costs across the state, according to coalition members. The letter states that these costs threaten the viability of many small businesses and impose millions of dollars in costs on taxpayers.

Read the full letter to the Governor here.