The glaring differences in a hotly contested New York State Senate race highlight that Republicans still have no economic development plan.
Using Pearl River's Pfizer Plant as a fitting backdrop, Clarktown Clerk David Carlucci, who is running for State Senate in the 38th District, insisted that New York cannot draw or retain businesses without creating incentives for them and streamlining how the State attends to economic development.
Pearl River, a hamlet in Orangetown, has been devastated by the ongoing loss of jobs since the pharmaceutical facility was bought from Wyeth a little over a year ago. Pfizer has been using employees at the state-of-the-art plant to train workers elsewhere and abroad while gutting the operations in New York.
Carlucci seemed especially upset by the job losses in Orange and Rockland Counties, and chastised the State for not creating the right environment for businesses. Once a State known for drawing leading-edge businesses, Carlucci said that New York has fallen behind in the information age, where businesses can much easier spread their employees about the globe. And other states have already recognized this and have created environments to draw and retain such employers.
In his speech, Carlucci acknowledged that a combination of out-of-control taxes, a lack of business development leadership, and a stubborn denial by our State's leaders that the business climate here is not up to snuff has lead us to the brink of financial ruin.
An decent-sized audience of supporters and curious onlookers listened as Carlucci spelled out a sophisticated plan to bring jobs to New York State on this brisk Labor Day Morning. The plan includes offering businesses that increase their workforce payroll a tax refund of up to $3,000 per employee, as long as these employees are New Yorkers that have been unemployed for more than 60 days. In addition, Carlucci called for an 80 percent tax rebate of New York State Personal Income Tax withholdings on jobs created for 10 years or longer.
Carlucci also said that New York can help protect jobs by expanding the Department of Labor's "Work Sharing" program, which enables companies looking at layoffs to reduce hours instead and letting employees keep their benefits. The difference in income to these employees' paychecks will be made up with a small contribution from unemployment insurance. To help pay for it, Carlucci called for the end of so-called economic development monies that are doled out to various agencies and through the State Assembly and State Senate. All State economic development efforts would then be put under the authority of a single office that reports directly to the Governor. Anchoring Carlucci's plan is the streamlining of business creation resources by making it easier for businesses to apply for licenses, permits, and certificates.
All in all, it was a substantial speech by Carlucci, who deftly used this day to actually talk about labor, rather than mutely marching in Labor Day parades. We've scoured the Internet for such a plan from David's opponent, Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef, including his campaign Web space, and have not yet found any substantial job plan (but we did find some rehashed, meaningless bullet points on his site and calls for deregulation).
Regardless, Vanderhoef sure did show he had a jobs plan when he filled the post of County Tourism Director and gave a substantial raise to a political ally last month.So here's my Labor Day message to Scott Vanderhoef: Patronage appointments in your County fiefdom does not qualify as a jobs program. Giving a six-figure salary to an unqualified crony to run an unneeded Tourism Department does not aid in our economic development. In fact, it is a crude slap in the face to the former workers at Pfizer and other unemployed Rockland County residents when they see their tax dollars wasted in such a manner.