WNY business leaders express concern to gubernatorial candidate

“I think it’s important for candidates to hear directly from businesses,” said Dottie Gallagher, president and CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership.

Buffalo, N.Y. — The Buffalo Niagara Partnership, the region’s chamber of commerce, is making sure to hear the concerns of businesses in Western New York ahead of Election Day.

Friday, Governor. Kathy Hochul joined a room full of executives and other business leaders, answering questions on everything from unemployment insurance to brownfield tax credits.

The partnership held the same event with Congressman Lee Zeldin in October. 6.

“I think it’s important for candidates to hear directly from businesses,” said Dottie Gallagher, president and CEO of BNP Paribas.

“They certainly hear a lot from taxpayers, especially activists. Business owners are running their businesses, so our job as a regional chamber of commerce is to make sure we know what their concerns are so we can articulate the full picture to elected officials. “

Instead of supporting candidates, as The Partnership has done over the past few years, the Chamber has developed a 2022 polling guide to help inform and educate people who want to get candidates running for office to answer business-related questions; even if not in person.

The guide covers all local and state races in Western New York, including New York gubernatorial races.

“We have discussed … unemployment insurance with both candidates and asked for [state] Trust funds are replenished. We know our local developers are concerned about the fees associated with brownfield projects levied in the state, and you heard the governor agree and say that may go away,” Gallagher said.

On unemployment insurance, New York businesses were being charged higher than normal premiums after the pandemic. Those premiums are tied to the state’s massive federal loans to pay individuals unable to work due to COVID-19.

The governor said she was working to get the federal government to forgive loans, which would ease the pressure on businesses.

Gallagher added that while the partnership supports the state’s aggressive climate action plan, businesses want to be sure there will be guaranteed and affordable electricity as the state shifts from fossil fuels to more renewable energy.

Rep. Zeldin said in early October that he would cancel “unrealistic” climate goals set by the state, calling the climate plan the result of “one-party rule.”

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