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1/29/2020   - Business Confidence Continues to grow in 2020

BUSINESS COMMUNITY VOICES VIEWS AND CONTINUED CONFIDENCE FOR 2020

We once again conducted our ANNUAL ISSUE SURVEY in January, obtaining a valuable snapshot of the collective thinking of the North Country business community on a number of timely issues.

                                                                         NEW YORK STATE ISSUES

On the New York State front, 90% call for closure of the $6 billion state budget gap through cost savings and spending reductions without any state tax increases. On other issues:

  • 95% call for greater and more flexible support for workforce development and training, including partnerships with employers and employer organizations.
  • 90% say it is important that no new mandates be imposed on employers this year in light of the enactment of a number of new state mandates on employers over the last few years.
  • 88% oppose the expansion of "state prevailing wage" mandates on construction projects.
  • 87% believe the questions and concerns of employers must be heard and considered as the state moves toward legalization of recreational marijuana.
  • 94% call upon the state to engage in helping to close major cell phone service gaps in the Adirondacks and elsewhere in the North Country.
  • 95% agree that any expansion of "Buy American" mandates on state funded construction project must exempt Canada, recognizing the strong and efficient dependence of the North Country on Quebec for such materials as cement, liquid asphalt and aluminum.
  • 96% support small business tax relief as a priority given increasing labor and employment costs, and that such relief must include small businesses who file via personal income tax. Relieving pressure on small business is seen as essential to economic growth and future state revenue sustainability.
  • 88% call for repeal of the new mandate that employers provide on request three hours of paid time on election days, in spite of early voting options and other provisions to facilitate voting   

 Overall state priorities are as follows:

  1. CLOSE THE STATE BUDGET GAP WITHOUT RAISING TAXES.
  2. STATE ACTION TO CLOSE CELL PHONE SERVICE GAPS IN NORTH COUNTRY.
  3. SUPPORT FOR WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT/TRAINING/RECRUITMENT.
  4. AVOID ADDITIONAL MANDATES ON EMPLOYERS.

FEDERAL ISSUES

99% continue to agree that the U.S.-Canada economic relationship is working for the North Country and must be supported and preserved as a key to the North Country's current and future economy. Consistent with this, 97% agree that U.S. Customs & Border Protection staffing levels and operations at Champlain and other northern border crossings must be guaranteed, and not be compromised by demands at the southern/Mexican border.

Reflecting broad appreciation for the economic importance in our region of our large and growing Transportation Equipment & Aerospace Cluster, 95% support Congressional enactment of a new federal multi-year Transportation Bill that enhances investment in our infrastructure and in the types of mass transportation equipment produced in the North Country.

80% express a need for federal and state support to expand access to affordable child care, as part of a response to workforce recruitment and retention challenges.

These results have been shared with all of our state and federal representatives and will be an important part of our active advocacy this year in Albany and Washington on behalf of the North Country economy.

2020 BUSINESS CONFIDENCE INDEX

When asked about business expectations for 2020, 73% indicated they expect their business activity to be UP and another 23% expect their business to be STEADY, creating a 2020 BUSINESS CONFIDENCE INDEX of 96%!

This finding -- mirroring the 96% finding for 2019 -- is in accord with a number of positive indicators and developments including the growing national economy, unemployment levels in the Plattsburgh area as low as 3.6%, increases in sales tax revenues, increased spending in the area by Canadian visitors and progress on several job creating projects and initiatives.

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