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Guest Column: State Sen. Tom O'Mara

“Overregulation keeps Upstate economy a downer”

ALBANY, Aug. 18, 2019 -- Sometimes you have to look back in order to keep moving ahead. That’s clearly the case when it comes to overregulation in New York State, otherwise known as “red tape.”

Last week a number of prominent organizations, on behalf of tens of thousands of small business owners across New York, called on Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign two new laws to ease this burden on small businesses. The groups included the Greater Corning Area and Chemung County Chambers of Commerce, Unshackle Upstate, The Business Council, the NYS Hospitality & Tourism Association, and the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

In part, these supporters of small business growth wrote, “Small businesses consistently cite the aggressive enforcement of newly enacted regulations ... making it extraordinarily difficult for small businesses who are already trying to comply with countless new and existing regulations.”

The enactment of the new laws, which the state Legislature approved with strong bipartisan support, would “help combat a climate of overly aggressive enforcement and lack of regulatory guidance and education by creating a culture where the state and business owners can work together."

One measure (S5815) would give a small business a chance to correct a first-time violation before paying a substantial (some would argue, unreasonable) fine. The other action (S5812) would require state agencies, before imposing a new regulation, to consider its practical, financial and legal impact.

Governor Cuomo should make them law. New York State’s overzealous regulatory bureaucracy remains harmful to the growth of our largest job-creating sector.

Business leaders wrote, “New York State continues to be one of the most difficult places to operate a business ... It’s time to work towards creating a better business and regulatory climate for our small businesses, who are the backbone of local economies and communities.”

I agree. In fact, these actions (and many others) are overdue.

The Cuomo administration will undoubtedly tout a few hundred administrative and regulatory reforms undertaken since 2011. That’s all well and good and, I agree, positive and important. It is a stretch, however, to proclaim that these regulatory reforms are further proof that, in the governor’s words, “the Empire State is once again open for business.”

Senate Republicans have consistently turned a spotlight on state overregulation through a series of public hearings across the state that focused on agriculture, construction, small business, tourism and other key sectors of New York’s economy -- including a hearing I sponsored in Corning to hear testimony from leading Southern Tier manufacturers and other economic development officials. Our original goal was to identify 1,000 regulations for revision or outright elimination. We ended up pointing to more than 2,000 specific rules, regulations and practices that put New York’s businesses, industries and manufacturers at a competitive disadvantage.

It’s one thing to talk about it, and quite another to turn all the talk into action. The Cuomo administration may continue to talk up a few hundred reforms over the past decade. We should be able to accomplish 10 times that many to truly get Upstate small businesses, manufacturers, farmers and other industries out from under an unreasonably heavy burden of unnecessary, job-killing state rules and regulations.

Let’s stay focused on the most important job at hand. For me, that is to turn around the economy of the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions, and all of Upstate New York.

It means we still must confront the truth that costly red tape keeps the Upstate economy going nowhere and keeps New York’s businesses climate one of the worst in America.

Photo in text: State Senator Tom O'Mara

Schuyler County Officials

Legislature Members:

Top row (from left): Dennis Fagan, Jim Howell, Michael Lausell, Van Harp

Bottom row: Carl Blowers, David Reed, Phil Barnes, Mark Rondinaro


Legislature Chairman

Dennis Fagan, Tyrone 607-292-3687

Legislature Members:

Carl Blowers

Van Harp

Jim Howell

David M. Reed

Michael Lausell

Phil Barnes, Watkins Glen, 481-0482

Mark Rondinaro

County Clerk: Linda Compton, 535-8133

Sheriff: William Yessman, 535-8222

Undersheriff: Breck Spaulding, 535-8222

County Treasurer: Harriett Vickio, 535-8181

District Attorney: Joseph Fazzary, 535-8383


State, Federal Officials for Schuyler County

Sen. Charles E. Schumer

United States Senate
313 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-3201
DC Phone: 202-224-6542
DC Fax: 202-228-3027
Email Address:

Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand

United States Senate
478 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
DC Phone: 202-224-4451

State Senator Tom O'Mara -- Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Yates, western Tompkins, Enfield, Ithaca (Town and City), Newfield, Ulysses(Trumansburg)

Room 812, Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12247
Phone: (518) 455-2091
Fax: (518) 426-6976

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano-- Steuben, Schuyler, Yates
Room 723, Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12248
Phone: (518) 455-5791


© The Odessa File 2017
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869