Rochester Chamber Takes Group to Small Business Day in Albany

Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce members travelled to Albany and joined with statewide business leaders for Small Business Lobby Day at the Capitol on Tuesday, March 8.  The event, sponsored by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), included over 150 business representatives who met with Senators and Assembly members to discuss issues of interest to employers.  Key topics discussed including minimum wage, paid family leave, workers’ compensation and health care costs.

Rochester Chamber led the Western NY advocacy team which included leaders from Rochester Chamber affiliate the Small Business Council of Rochester, as well as Chamber members Claims Financial Recovery Services, Visiting Nurse Services, Rewarding Solutions, LLC, Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, and Seabreeze.

“Small Business Day provides an important opportunity for our state legislators to hear directly from business leaders on how policy and budget proposals impact employers,” said Chris Wiest, Rochester Chamber Vice President, Public Policy & Advocacy.  “Not only did our Senators and Assembly members hear the personal stories of how a $15 minimum wage, paid family leave, high workers’ compensation and healthcare costs negatively impact job creators, we were also able to share survey data on what more than 200 Chamber members think of these issues.”

The Chamber advocacy team met with Assemblyman Harry Bronson, Senator Rich Funke, Senator Joe Robach, Senator Rob Ortt, Senator Mike Ranzenhofer, Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, and staff representatives from Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle, Assembly members Peter Lawrence and Mark Johns, and Senator Patrick Gallivan.

Lobby day participants remarked on how they found the day informative and that they valued the opportunity to have candid discussions with lawmakers on some very difficult issues.  Most importantly, they appreciated the opportunity to make the employer voice heard.

Steve Mowers, CFO of Claims Financial Recovery Services, Orleans County’s largest private employer, felt the group left an impression on legislators.  “With all the issues on the table right now, it is important for legislators to understand the impact of these changes on employers.  We tried to connect the proposals to real life situations. In order for employers to be successful and add jobs, we need to find ways to be more supportive of business.  That was a key part of our messaging.”

For more information on minimum wage advocacy efforts, please visit MinimumWageRealityCheck.com.  Access the Rochester Chamber memo on minimum wage here and the Rochester Chamber paid family leave memo here

Click here for a video chronicling the Rochester Chamber delegation's day in Albany.