Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor
Lalor on IBM Layoffs and the Way Forward
For Immediate Release
Fishkill, NY – (6/13/13) – I’m deeply concerned about the recent IBM layoffs in our area. I grew up during IBM’s heyday in the Hudson Valley. When I was a Poughkeepsie Journal paperboy it was easy to tell who on my route was an IBMer because they paid with an IBM credit union check. Of my 100 or so customers, more than 60 were IBMers. Unfortunately, we live in different times. Now our focus should be to hold on to the IBM jobs we have; while simultaneously doing everything we can to bring new manufacturers and high-tech industries to our area. We also need to work hard to grow those businesses that are already here.
Revitalizing the economy will require reform at each level of government. Zoning boards, municipal governments, New York State lawmakers and federal policy makers need to create an environment where government is an ally of business rather than an adversary.
At the state level, tax cuts and taming the bureaucracy are job one. This requires spending cuts. To lower taxes and fees and stop aggressive fines by government agencies we can start by significantly reducing the $7 billion in so-called “economic development” spending in the budget. Under the current “economic development” model, funds are not transparent while redundancies and waste abound. The economy simply has not developed in a manner sufficient to justify the expense.
Savings from reducing “economic development” aid could be used to let workers and job creators keep more of their hard-earned money. Specifically, these spending reductions could be used for across-the-board tax cuts starting with the elimination of the 18A energy tax. This tax is regressive, anti-business and particularly devastating to the manufacturing and tech sectors which have proven to be the most prolific job creators.
We can also dramatically reduce the $440 million Hollywood tax credit which goes primarily to well-connected political donors and does little to sustain long-term jobs for workers in our state. Every dollar saved by reducing the Hollywood tax credit is a dollar we can give back to the average taxpayer and small business owner to spend here at home.
We should also eliminate funding for professional sports stadiums like the $60 million the state is giving the Buffalo Bills to refurbish their stadium. The Bills are owned by a billionaire and the players are millionaires. They only play eight games a year at home. Why should the average New Yorker pay for wealthy athletes from other states to play a game?
Finally, I agree with those who say that IBM should not be allowed to accept tax breaks and then lay off workers. I support across the board tax cuts but if we insist on giving a big employer a tax break, at a minimum, we need to get a written commitment to keep jobs in our area.
In the coming weeks we will be organizing a meeting of business, political and civic leaders to further chart the way forward. This has been a difficult week but I remain hopeful that we can overcome these challenges and provide a brighter future for our children and grandchildren.
Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a former teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and founder of the Dutchess County based consulting firm KML Strategies, LLC. Lalor is the founder of Afghanistan & Iraq Veterans for Congress and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel. He is a graduate of John Jay High School, Providence College and Pace Law School and lives in Fishkill with his wife Mary Jo and their four young children Katie, Riley, Mikey and Kieran Jr..