FinalLetNYWorkAgenda (pdf)

Subject: Time to Let NY Work

Wednesday, November 02, 2011 3:24 PM 

Good afternoon friends.  I wanted to share with you some fantastic news and a historic event for New York. 

Yesterday, Unshackle Upstate was joined by 10 other groups to propose six very practical and cost effective mandate reform options for New York.  The plan, called Let New York Work: A Common Agenda for the Common Good, is attached for your review.  When fully implemented, these reforms will reshape our communities and make us proud to once again call New York our home. 

Now, you may be wondering why this is historic since some of the ideas on the agenda have been talked about for quite some time.  What is historic is that this is the first time that the business community, the taxpayers, municipal government and education organizations worked together to support a common agenda.  Many of us, if you recall, were on opposite sides of the debate on the property tax cap.  But we realize that if we are to make our communities affordable, we must work together to achieve meaningful and significant mandate relief. 

But we have our work cut out for us.  Almost as soon as our agenda was out, Danny Donahue, head of the CSEA, released this statement:

“The package of so called public sector reforms put forward under the banner of the Let NY Work coalition – apparently at the urging of Governor Andrew Cuomo – is another despicable broadside on working people. Their bile is a perversion of reality that misrepresents the facts about very complex issues facing our state. 

Obviously, the Occupy Wall Street Movement has Governor Cuomo and his corporate allies worried and with good reason: Pressure is mounting because corporations evade paying their fair share of taxes through loopholes and political favoritism, while the super wealthy look forward to an indefensible $5 billion windfall at year’s end. All this as state and local governments continue to struggle with their finances because of state budget cuts demanded by Governor Cuomo. 

It’s always easier to change the subject and scapegoat rather than face up to the ugly truth. Governor Cuomo and his front group are in the wrong place on these issues, as they talk about shared sacrifice and the common good. Clearly they mean for some, not all.”

The reality is that he is reacting to the fact that our message is on point…that we need to make our communities affordable…and that we can do it without raising spending and taxes.  He is worried that we will sway the taxpayers to our side and get them to pressure their state elected officials to advance our agenda.  And guess what…we will. 

Please be sure to share this with your friends, family and colleagues.  The more people that know the better our chances for success.  And consider contributing to our efforts at https://www.unshackleupstate.com/get-involved/donate.   

My sincere thanks to all of you for your time, your financial support, and your ongoing efforts to help advance our cause.

Brian Sampson, Executive Director

Unshackle Upstate

150 State Street, Rochester, NY 14614



Here’s a quick overview, visit their site for more…

Behind NY's Problems: Big Spending, High Taxes

Behind NY’s Problems: Big Spending, High Taxes

Upstate’s growth is undermined by a state government that has focused on big spending and high taxes. We’ve introduced plans to lower taxes, grow our economy and make our government more accountable to change that.

New York's Rich History of Innovation & Success

New York’s Rich History of Innovation & Success

We’ve heard it all: Upstate New York is a rust belt, a region whose glory days are history, a place that young people and retirees can’t wait to get away from. We’ve heard it. And we don’t agree with it.

Why Unshackle Upstate

Why Unshackle Upstate

Taxpayers need a voice in Albany. We are that voice. Our mission: to shine a spotlight on the state laws, regulations and governmental practices that are holding back our economy, and then create solutions that will lead to jobs and revitalize our state.

From May 12 2011:

Letter to NYS Mandate Relief Redesign Team

Unshackle Upstate – a bipartisan coalition focused on fixing state government, making it more accountable to NY’s taxpayers.

Legislative Activity & 2011 Policy Agenda

Unshackle Upstate highlights its position on important issues by speaking out in meetings with elected officials, staff and key leaders, testifying before committees and issuing legislative memos.

Send a Message to Your State Lawmaker

Join us in sending a message to Albany. Whether it’s fighting for reduced taxes or state spending, e-mail your representative and let them know your position on important issues.

Get Involved, Take Action, Take Part

Through this website, Facebook, Twitter, email campaigns and UPAC, members of the Unshackle Army speak volumes about what New York’s elected officials must do to improve our state. Join us and make your voice heard.

Unshackle Upstate Weekly UpdatesFrom the Blog View More

Recent Updates View More

News & Press View More


October 21, 2011

Government Affairs Albany Update

Regulatory Reform

The Cuomo Administration has asked for recommendations for regulatory reforms that would improve the state’s economic competitiveness and eliminate barriers to new investments and new jobs in New York State. Based on previous input and recent conversations with Business Council members, we have compiled an initial list of recommendations.

We urge GAC members to discuss this request with your company’s regulatory staff, and provide us with additional regulatory reform priorities at your earliest convenience.

Please feel free to contact Ken Pokalsky or other members of our Government Affairs team to provide recommendations or to discuss further.

Push to reform New York’s century-old Scaffold Law

Written by Rob Lillpopp on September 29, 2011 – 5:07 am

A new coalition of New York employers, farmers and others has joined together to make a major push to reform New York’s century-old “Scaffold Law” to help promote economic growth and recovery throughout New York.

Under New York’s Scaffold Law, contractors, employers and property owners are held absolutely liable for “elevation related injuries.” When an injured worker sues, the contractor, employer, or owner is automatically liable even if they weren’t at fault.

New York remains the only state in the nation where a worker is not held responsible for his or her own negligence. Illinois was the last to reform the law, in 1995, and the effect was immediate: 50,000 new jobs and a sharp decrease in workplace injuries. By reforming the law, workplace safety will be improved.

“New York State’s elected officials must confront the fact that simply doing business here is more expensive than in almost every other state. The Scaffold Law is ‘Exhibit A’ of our outdated and biased legal system,” said Tom Stebbins, executive director of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York (LRANY). “Reforming the Scaffold Law will be a first step to getting our economy moving again and sending a message that much-needed change has reached New York State.”

The tremendous costs of the Scaffold Law are passed along to all New Yorkers. Since there is virtually no defense against a million-dollar Scaffold Law suit, the cost of general liability insurance in New York is extremely high, driving up costs for all construction projects, including taxpayer-funded projects like infrastructure improvements and school construction. This has a significant impact on New York: construction costs go up, employers hire fewer workers (or must lay off those they do have) and the economy suffers.

The new Scaffold Law Reform coalition is supporting Assembly Bill 2835 (D- Morelle), which would give New York property owners, business owners, contractors and municipalities the chance to defend themselves in court when an injury occurs due to negligence. The bill would not prevent injured workers from suing their employers or prevent injured workers from receiving workers’ compensation benefits.

The coalition has launched a new website – www.scaffoldlaw.org – to educate New Yorkers about the issue and to encourage grassroots supporters to contact their legislators to express their support for reform.

“The Scaffold Law is more than 100 years old. A lot has changed in those years to help improve working conditions, including the development of OSHA standards and workers’ compensation. We need to modify this antiquated law which now serves as nothing more than an increase to the cost of doing business in New York and a deterrent to the creation of new jobs. In the end, every New Yorker pays the price,” said Stebbins.

# # #

Members of the Scaffold Law Reform Coalition include:
• Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York
• Associated General Contractors of New York State
• Business Council of New York State
• New York Farm Bureau
• National Federation of Independent Business
• Unshackle Upstate
• The New York State Builders Association

Make a Difference

Now is the time to make a difference! Tell your legislator that you want Scaffold Law reform. New Yorkers have borne this burden too long, and we need change to bring jobs back to the state!

Assembly Bill 2835 would hold workers liable for their fair share of fault when they act negligently, refuse to use safety devices, or are impaired by drugs or alcohol.

scaffold law refom - action-center - contact your reps now Send a message to your legislators

Contact your representatives today!

Run a Business or Organization?Email Us This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.to sign our letter of support.

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Where the State’s going -> needs a look at where it has been <-. The Following reports may be dated, but are all still quite relevant:

Public Policy Institute: State government initiatives have yet to affect New York’s ranking along economic indicators (Sept. 21, 2011)

Study reveals 22 out of 25 highest taxed U.S. counties are located in New York State (April 2011) [We must note here @ MRN that where the Tax Cap may be a step in the right direction, without mandate relief, it will simply allow this problem to continue to grow at 2%/year]

REPORTS AND STUDIES (you’ll find other recent reports on individual pages under specific issue headings)
Most of the below reports are in PDF format Help opening PDF files click to download the free reader.