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Joint Meeting Lesko & Bishop- Job Retention Initiative

February 10, 2012 @ 12:00 am EST


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Our speakers this morning were Congressman Tim Bishop and Brookhaven Town Supervisor Mark Lesko.


These two leaders that have teamed to address a very important concern. Long Island companies are being lured away from this region with incentives that are sometimes hard to resist. Lesko and Bishop created a task force to go out and interview companies and see what offers they have been getting and what do they need to keep them here.


The good news is that most of the companies are not planning on going anywhere. Some of them need more help with electric power, and financing. Some of these needs can be met.


The fact that many companies need the high skilled work force, access to research and education facilities. These benefits are difficult to duplicate. Moreover many business leaders are native to Long Island and all things considered, this is where they would rather be. But Mr. Lesko told us of lures that some of us thought were humorous. One company was told that they would be given a parade if they relocated. Everybody loves a party but we do sober-up.


Mt Bishop took the opportunity to discuss the items of concern in Washington. Up for consideration is a bill in the House that would reverse a 30 year formula that was put in place by President Reagan. The highway taxes have been shared with mass transit to the tune of 20% of all those revenues. That has allowed major mass transit projects to be built. The logic of this arrangement is that ground transportation is a unit. Mass transit helps the driving public by taking autos of the road. Mr Bishop assured us that this bill will not go anywhere but it does slow down the process. There has not been an increase in the gasoline tax since the early 90’s and an increase in that tax which is desperately needed. The chance of that happening are slim to none.


The congressman addressed the deficit too. He posed the question of how do we balance the budget. He explained that there must be cuts and when cuts are made there are no sacred cows. (not his wards). All options must be on the table according to Bishop, but bear in mind how we got to the place we are in.


There was a series of tax cuts over the past ten years. None of them were paid for with savings elsewhere. There was an economic downturn that dramatically lowered income tax collections. At the same time there was a large increase in the need to pay unemployment benefits. There were two wars that were not paid for. There were dramatic increases in the need to fund veterans benefits. This was the perfect storm.


The Q&A period was enthusiastically engaged. We allowed the Q&A to run a little longer than customary. We did have to stop long before we exhausted all the questions but we did cover an enormous amount of ground.


We thank these dedicated public officials for their efforts on retaining jobs and the efforts are paying off. We thank the audience for their interest and adding thoughtful input

Former congressman George Hochbrueckner was in the audience and it was good to see him there. In the past he was a frequent speaker at LIMBA.


There will be no meeting next week, But join us on February 24th when Jack O’Connor, real estate expert from Newmark Knight & Frank will come to LIMBA. He will discuss what we have to know about this important segment of the Long Island economy.