The most contentious piece of legislation during my term in the Albany County Legislature was the so called “paid sick time legislation.” While we all support sick leave, this proposal was so flawed and expansive that it was defeated 21-17 by a bipartisan coalition of legislators.
I proudly voted against this mandate on small business and not for profits. This proposal was opposed by not for profits like the Humane Society, YMCA, Interstate Partnership for the Homeless and the entire small business community. The financial costs associated with mandated benefits to part time workers would have them reduce staff, programs and increase fees. Cost to the YMCA alone was estimated at $400,000. Guptills Roller Rink and Ice Cream hires 115 kids between 15-18; they estimated their cost at $140,000 and would have had to cut staff and increase the cost of ice cream and roller skating. Every restaurant from McGeary’s, Savoy, and many other Albany and Colonie businesses opposed the measure.
I believe Albany County has no business telling private and not-for-profit businesses how to run them in a competitive environment. If this legislation is to be considered it should be done at the state level and not penalize Albany County businesses and make them less competitive in the region.
Many of my colleagues in the county Legislature mean well but are public employees who have never risked their own capital, created a job and seem to believe giving away other people’s money is their mission. They were also pressured by New York City organizers, organized labor and local activists who threatened to run campaigns against them. Thank goodness there were enough Democrats and Republicans who understand who creates and maintains jobs in Albany County other than public employers, and understood the cost implications of this proposal.
In the 18 months this issue was before the Legislature I heard from one Colonie constituent who advocated for the bill, and after I explained my opposition due to impacts to small business and not-for-profits they accepted and agreed with my position. During that time, I heard from scores of Albany and Colonie businesses and not-for-profits (to whom I contribute) about the loss of jobs, programs and cost increases this mandate would have generated.
In my opinion, a no vote was the right vote.
Deputy minority leader
Albany County Legislator
District 23 – Latham, Loudonville & the Village of Colonie