The annual Legislative Breakfast is an open discussion between businessmen and women in the North Country and the lawmakers who represent them in Albany.
More than 90% of North Country Chamber members think this year will be a good year for business.
So to make good on that hope, all parties had the chance to bounce some ideas off each other Friday morning in Plattsburgh.
At the Chamber's annual Legislative Breakfast, much of the discussion surrounded Governor Andrew Cuomo's business and economic development proposals.
The number one priority seems to be a proposed tax break for upstate manufacturers: a 0% percent corporate income tax.
“That's zero. Compared to, for example, 8.5% in Vermont, more than 11% in Quebec,” explained North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas. “That's going to enhance competitiveness for our companies."
State Senator Betty Little (R – District 45), Assemblyman Dan Stec (R – District 114) and Assemblywoman Janet Duprey (R – District 115) also weighed in.
Duprey says she has been contacted by some established business owners, who feel left out of the state's initiatives to attract new business.
“When do we get some relieve of our taxes and our mandates and give the opportunity to expand our businesses? And that message, again people say 'does it do any good to talk to us'? Yes it does,” said Duprey.
She expects to see benefits for existing businesses in this year's budget.
Legislators and business reps talked openly about everything from taxes, health care and veterans rights.
There was also discussion about education and the implementation of the common core.
“We didn't do ourselves any good with that test,” said Sen. Little. “Implement the Common Core but don't test on the Common Core until you have actually taught it for a number of years. And that's a big big issue."
Why does this matter to businesses?
Because these legislators say, a successful school system leads to a place more New Yorkers will want to live and do business.
There was also lots of prison talk. Not necessarily about inmates but about what happens to communities when a prison closes.
That's happening in Chateaugay in July. The prison opened in 1990 and employs just over 100 people.
It's 1 of 4 facilities getting shut down in New York this year.
“The loss of 111 jobs in Chateaugay, NY is equal to the loss of 5,674 jobs in Brooklyn,” said Sen. Little.
The state is distributing $24 million to 4 communities, including Chateaugay.
The money will be used to transition economically after their prison closes.