Jerry Kremer and Anthony Figliola

On January 22, Jerry Kremer and Anthony Figliola of Empire Government Strategies (ESG) spoke at the LIMBA (Long Island Metro Business Action) meeting to discuss “Insights on Our Times.” 

Mr. Kremer discussed how the New York budget is completely dependent on federal assistance from Washington. According to Governor Cuomo, New York currently has a $12 billion deficit. However, the U.S. Senate majority leader is a New York native, which should help the state obtain more financial resources that will help close the budget gap. 

He also noted that New York State, especially New York City, was hit harder by the pandemic than other parts of the U.S. Over 250,000 residents fled New York last year due to both COVID and the state’s confiscatory tax structure. Many landlords have been forced to lower rent prices and precluded evicting tenants for nonpayment of rent.  

Mr. Figliola added that the COVID-19 pandemic placed an extreme financial strain on the state government at a cost of $9 billion and growing. For example, a new $5,000 return-to-work tax credit was given to small businesses and restaurants for each new employee they hired. The credit alone cost the state $50 million. 

Mr. Kremer explained that the state government has proposed a new budget that will help to counteract the financial crisis. Some of the examples include the legalization of marijuana for recreational use which is expected to produce $50 million in revenue. Online sports betting would certainly raise revenue, they said, but, due to some limitations, it is unclear how much money it would bring in. The state recently imposed a new tax on vacation homes, and on vacation rentals. An increase in income tax is also being proposed, but the amount is still unknown. 

Mr. Kremer also mentioned the proposed budget also includes spending $306 billion on infrastructure, $190 billion on transportation, $33 billion on economic development, and $100 million on downtown revitalization, as well as a two-year extension on the autonomous vehicle testing program. 

When asked about renewable energy sources, Mr. Kremer and Mr. Figliola said that the Governor is committed to using natural resources to run the state’s energy grid. This includes wind power and natural gas. 

Mr. Figliola also explained possible changes in healthcare standards in New York. The government plans to increase spending for telehealth visits, which, he said, are lowering the number of emergency room visits from 911 calls in New York. He also noted that Medicaid and Medicare systems are not efficiently run and place a huge financial burden on local governments.