Buffalo Niagara Partnership: State Budget Takes Historic Steps, Lacks in Other Areas


From unemployment insurance to brownfields cleanup, the Western New York Chamber of Commerce has been critical of the budget.

BUFFALO, NY — The Buffalo Niagara Partnership offered mixed reviews Friday of the state’s pending budget deal. Their main complaint? There are no measures in the budget that would ease the burden of business unemployment insurance debt.

“New York has billions of federal dollars it could use to help pay down its unemployment insurance debt and prevent massive tax hikes for employers. Instead, state leaders continue to shut down eyes,” said Buffalo Niagara Partnership President and CEO Dottie Gallagher.

The cost of unemployment insurance has risen following the COVID-19 pandemic during which New York increased the amount it owes the federal government to more than $9 billion after borrowing money. money to pay unemployment benefits.

Grant Loomis, vice president of government affairs for the Buffalo-Niagara partnership, explained that the higher the state’s unemployment debt balance, the more New York’s private sector will pay.

“We’re hoping, absent the actions that they haven’t taken in this budget deal, that the state will do something,” Loomis said.

He added that “without action, employers are going to face much higher unemployment insurance premiums and this will directly hurt employers of all shapes and sizes, many of whom are struggling to get back on their feet.”

In addition to the debt issue, the partnership forked out a new $50,000 application fee for the brownfields cleanup program.

The program is extended for 10 years, but Loomis said the concern is that this one-time, non-refundable charge could stifle projects that have been a key part of Buffalo’s renewal, namely Bethlehem Steel and the former Billion Fillmore project. Gate Circle.

Previously, there were no application fees when requesting the cleaning of potentially contaminated sites. Proponents will be able to apply for a financial hardship exemption through the Department of Environmental Conservation, but guidelines for this process have not yet been drafted.


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