New York State Needs to Refrain from Harming Our Economic Recovery
Randy Wolken, President & CEO

The New York State Legislative Session will end this week. We have come through the most tumultuous year I can remember. In the nearly 20 years that I have been President & CEO of MACNY, no year has been quite like this. The good news is, we are emerging from the dual crisis of a pandemic and a deep downturn in our economy. The challenge is growing as we come out of it. We need to remain competitive with the rest of the world as it too emerges from COVID-19.

We will need government and private sector businesses to work together to forge a brighter future for New Yorkers throughout the state. Government cannot be at odds with good growth policies. We need both sides to work together, respecting what each sector offers. Private sector growth is the engine of economic growth. Wealth is created by strong growth in industries such as manufacturing and technology. These are now internationally competitive industries, and our policies must reflect a willingness to excel on a global basis. New York can ill-afford to forget this critical element as it enacts policies. Public policies that slow or harm private-sector growth is counterproductive to helping every New York State resident thrive.

Although they did not pass the full legislature (or both houses) this year, two pieces of legislation that would severely damage our economy and, in particular, technology and manufacturing companies, gained significant support in the 2021 legislative session: The New York Health Act (S.5474 / A.6058); and the Antitrust Legislation of New York (S.933-A/A.1812A). MACNY remains committed to active opposition to these legislative efforts that are sure to be reintroduced in the next legislative session.

The antitrust legislation would create criminal and civil penalties for new and existing businesses that create jobs with their latest innovations. This proposed legislation could result in an extraordinary expansion of the state’s antitrust law, create significant uncertainty for businesses, and lead to adverse consequences for businesses and consumers alike. It would make New York uncompetitive for many 21st Century companies and cost jobs and substantial tax revenues. What makes this so damaging is it would create a new category for unlawful behavior and increase criminal penalties so that any act deemed unlawful would constitute a Class C felony. While it is vital for antitrust laws to be enforced against anti-competitive conduct, this bill’s resulting vague and broad provisions would allow enforcement and penalties against business conduct that is clearly critical to New York State. The intent of this legislation may focus on the largest tech companies, but its impact would be felt across all business sectors in Central New York and the state.

Even more damaging to our state is the proposed legislation that would enact the New York Health Act, which would create a government-run, “single payer” health care system to replace New York’s current system of health coverage. The single-payer system would be financed by a mandatory new payroll tax on both employers and employees and new taxes on other income such as interest and capital gains. Such tax increases could devastate our economy.

An independent study conducted by the RAND Corporation found that the legislation would require at least $210 Billion in new taxes when fully implemented. RAND did not include the cost of long-term care benefits, which requires an additional more than $40 billion in taxes. This is three times more than what New York State currently collects to pay for everything from schools to roads and bridges. The legislation does not explicitly mention the real fiscal or economic impact it could have on New York state, nor does it calculate the amount of new taxes to be imposed.

MACNY supports and remains committed to universal coverage. Today, more than 95% of New Yorkers have health care coverage through a combination of private, employer-sponsored, and government-supported plans.

We will again need you, our members, to voice your concerns with the New York State Legislature before the next session. Thanks for all you have done with us this year to support critical issues and oppose potentially damaging legislation.