Seneca Chamber Initiatives

The Seneca Chamber Initiatives are as diverse and varied as our nearly 350 member businesses. We strive to be the leading voice of business for the Seneca County area and have become a trusted source of information on legislative policies and proposals that affect our business climate. We have monitored local, state and federal legislative processes for more than 40 years and have built a reputation for being a strong advocate for our members’ interests. Each year — we engage elected officials, business leaders and community experts in forming policy statements and positions on the most important issues facing our region.

Our most recent Policy Statements and positions are as follows:

 

ESTATE TAX REFORM
WILMOT CASINO & RESORT
SCAFFOLD LAW REFORM

 

(RES. 301-2014) SENECA COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE SUPPORTS EFFORTS TO REFORM NEW YORK STATE’S ESTATE TAX TO EASE FINANCIAL BURDENS THAT COULD BE PLACED ON HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF NEW YORK HOUSEHOLDS, SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS AND FARMERS.

WHEREAS, an estate is required to file a New York State estate tax return if the total of the federal gross estate plus the federal adjusted taxable gifts and specific exemption exceeds $1 million, and the individual was either: a resident of the state at the time of death; or a resident or citizen of the U.S. at the time of death but not a resident of the state, whose estate includes real or tangible personal property located in the state; and

WHEREAS, estates must file and pay the tax within nine months of the decedent’s date of death;

WHEREAS, New York is one of only 14 states that still impose any tax on estates and one of only eleven that levies a maximum rate of 16%, and;

WHEREAS, until 2001, the amount of estate tax imposed by individual states was deducted from the federal tax owed (up to 16%); and

WHEREAS, the credit was eliminated after 2011 promoting most states to eliminate their individual estate taxes; and

WHEREAS, the Federal government now taxes estates starting at $5.34 million (adjusted for inflation each year) as opposed to New York State’s $1 million threshold; and

WHEREAS, in 2012, the federal government imposed the tax on only 3,758 estates in the entire country while nearly 4,000 estates were taxed in New York State; and

WHEREAS, the Empire Center has calculated nearly 500,000 New York households with “investable assets” of $1 million or more (more than 10 times the number of New York tax filers reporting annual
incomes of the same amount) that include: middle-class households, small business owners and farmers; and

WHEREAS, Governor Cuomo referred to the current estate tax as an incentive for New Yorkers to “move to die;” now therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Seneca County Chamber of Commerce supports efforts to reform the New York State estate tax to, at a minimum, increase the minimum threshold of an estate to match the current Federal standard and reduce the maximum taxable rate to reduce enormous burdens on NY estates.

 

(RES. 201-2014) SENECA COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE SUPPORTS THE PROPOSED WILMOT CASINO AND RESORT PROJECT

WHEREAS, the Seneca County Chamber of Commerce is the leading advocate for business in Seneca County, and was organized to advance the general welfare and prosperity of the County of Seneca so that its citizens and all areas of its business community shall prosper; and

WHEREAS, the proposed Wilmot Casino & Resort (project) is a planned $350 million initiative  intended for development in the Town of Tyre, Seneca County; and

WHEREAS, the proposed project will result in an estimated 1,800 new permanent jobs with an annual payroll of $50 million and up to 1,200 construction jobs; and

WHEREAS, the proposed project would result in an estimated $7.8 million annual share of NYS gaming tax for the Town of Tyre and the County of Seneca; and

WHEREAS, the proposed project will pay all state and local taxes including property tax and occupancy tax; and

WHEREAS, the proposed project has made a commitment to recruit, train and hire locally as well as buy goods and services from local vendors; and

WHEREAS, the proposed project has made a commitment to help promote Seneca County and its tourism assets to potential visitors throughout the world in addition to featuring local goods and agricultural products in a permanent “Buy New York” pavilion ; and

WHEREAS, the project will help keep a portion of the hundreds of millions of dollars spent each year in neighboring states in Seneca County, while increasing revenue for local schools, lowering property taxes and increasing tourism to our community; now therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Seneca County Chamber of Commerce supports development of the proposed Wilmot Casino & Resort in Seneca County; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Seneca County Chamber of Commerce urges the New York State Gaming Commission to give full and proper consideration to the unrivaled merits associated with an application for the Wilmot Casino & Resort to be sited in the Southern Tier/Central Finger Lakes region.

 

(RES. 202-2014) SENECA COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE SUPPORTS EFFORTS TO REFORM NEW YORK STATE’S SCAFFOLD LAW IN ORDER TO LOWER THE COST OF DOING BUSINESS IN UPSTATE NEW YORK AND SAVE TAXPAYER MONIES FOR PUBLICLY FUNDED CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS.

WHEREAS, NYS Labor Law Sec. 240(1), commonly referred to as New York’s Scaffold Law, reads in part, “All contractors and owners and their agents, except owners of one and two-family dwellings who contract for but do not direct or control the work, in the erection, demolition, repairing, altering, painting, cleaning or pointing of a building or structure shall furnish or erect, or cause to be furnished or erected for the performance of such labor, scaffolding, hoists, stays, ladders, slings, hangers, blocks, pulleys, braces, irons, ropes, and other devices which shall be constructed, placed and operated as to give proper protection to a person so employed…” ; and

WHEREAS, the statute was designed to protect workers from special hazards presented by gravity-related risks; and

WHEREAS, the NYS Scaffold Law was enacted in 1885 and predates the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Workers’ Compensation Law and most state and local regulations and construction industry best practices; and

WHEREAS, under the statue, liability is imposed on an owner or general contractor based solely on their status meaning there is absolute liability; and

WHEREAS, New York is the only remaining state to have an “absolutely liable” provision for building owners and contractors as part of its Scaffold Law; and

WHEREAS, a summary opinion written for a 2012 Court of Appeals decision explained that: “Labor Law 240(1), one of the most frequent sources of litigation in the New York courts, provides rights to certain workers going well beyond the common law…”; and

WHEREAS, the Scaffold Law drives up the cost of doing business throughout the state (most notably Upstate New York) as well as every public and private construction project in New York due to its “absolute liable” provision; and

WHEREAS, the Scaffold Law disproportionately affects M/WBE’s who are generally smaller and cannot afford the insurance costs, or could be quickly bankrupted by large settlements; now therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Seneca County Chamber of Commerce supports efforts to reform the New York State Labor Law Sec. 240, also known as the Scaffold Law, through the establishment of new provisions to create a comparative negligence standard; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Seneca County Chamber of Commerce supports current legislative bills A.3104-2013 (Morelle),  S.111-2013 (Gallivan) and A.1556-2013 (Kolb) and urges their passage in the New York State legislature.