State Budget On Target For Improved Business Climate

Just as he did two weeks ago in his State of the State Address, Gov. Andrew Cuomo used his 2014 budget address this past week to call for holding the line on spending and cutting taxes. Both of these themes are positive news for helping to improve the overall business climate in New York state.

The governor’s budget proposes a tax freeze to help provide relief to property owners, when their local governments stay within the state’s 2 percent spending cap. The package is not designed just as tax relief. It is also aimed at creating incentives for consolidating layers of municipal government statewide, which create burdensome tax structures, which is something the Chamber/MAST have been advocating for years.

The jobs agenda proposed by Cuomo calls for an international marketing program aimed at Start-Up zones statewide. Each region of New York has been targeted for building assets that will boost the economy. These, too, are positive steps. In Western New York, the governor’s proposal calls for creating a $100 million genome research center.

Education funding proposed under the plan has received some significant attention, especially state aid to local school districts and universal pre-K. One area that has not been widely publicized yet sets aside $8 million for a STEM education package that would waive tuition at SUNY campuses for the top 10 percent of high school seniors who study science, math or technology and agree to work in New York state for five years. This measure is directly in line with the Chamber/MAST movement that created the Chautauqua STEM Education Coalition last year. Our Dream It Do It initiative continues to work on enhancing STEM learning opportunities, and the Governor’s latest move could help solidify our work.

The budget includes spending cuts for a number of state agencies including over $1 billion in cuts for the Department of Health, the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General, and the Department of Labor.

We remain optimistic about the proposed 2014 New York state budget, and ask lawmakers to make the important decisions needed to help move this state forward for businesses and residents alike.

Fredonia Community Chamber Annual Meeting Thursday

The Fredonia Community Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual election and award banquet on Thursday. The event will take place at the White Inn, Fredonia. Cocktails are at 5:30 p.m. with dinner at 6:30 p.m.

For more information or to make reservations, call Fredonia Community Chamber Coordinator Heidi Seddon at 467-4321.

Experience Chautauqua Networking Event To Help Kick Off Winter Festival

The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce will hold its next Experience Chautauqua Networking Event at Webb’s Year Round Resort on Thursday, Feb. 13. This event will help to kick off the annual President’s Day Weekend Winter Festival, which is organized by the Mayville-Chautauqua Community Chamber of Commerce.

Providing networking opportunities with other members is a key component of the Chamber’s work. Our goal is to give each business ample opportunity to market itself in one-on-one sessions with other like-minded business people. Our focus with these events is also to provide Chamber members with a glimpse of the fascinating business and tourism occurrences right here in Chautauqua County.

The cost of the networking event is just $10 for pre-registered Chamber members or $12 at the door. You can register online at www.chautauquachamber.org or by calling 366-6200 or 484-1101.

Watch for more details coming soon on the variety of activities scheduled for the President’s Day Weekend Winter Festival in Mayville.

Presidents Day Weekend Winter Festival Set

The Mayville-Chautauqua Community Chamber of Commerce has been hard at work once again planning the annual Presidents Day Weekend Winter Festival. Weather permitting, the event will feature construction of an ice castle at Lakeside Park in Mayville.

A full weekend of events is scheduled from Friday, Feb. 14 through Sunday, Feb. 16. For more details, visit the Presidents Day Weekend Winter Festival-Mayville New York page on Facebook. Still going strong in its 28th year, the festival features winter events and activities for the whole family, including contests for children and adults as well as food and craft vendors.

Chamber Members Eligible For Discounted Jim Brickman Tickets

Pianist Jim Brickman brings his Love Tour to the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts in Jamestown on Friday, Feb. 7, and Chamber members are eligible for discounted tickets.

The Chamber has a special online link available, which is being sent by email to all its members. The link entitles Chamber members to 50 percent discounts on show tickets, but the discount is good only through 10 a.m., Monday. If you are a Chamber member and did not receive your Jim Brickman discount email message, please call the Chamber for more information at 484-1101.