Small-business caucus forms in Albany County Legislature

ALBANY COUNTY – A minority of the minority of the Albany County Legislature has formed a new caucus to fight what it views as anti-business legislation in Albany County.

There are 10 Republicans in the 39-seat county legislature.

Mark Grimm, a Guilderland Republican, along with Todd Drake, a Republican from Colonie, and Chris Smith, a Conservative Party member from Berne who caucuses with Democrats – all three business owners – have formed the Small Business Caucus of the Albany County Legislature.

Sales-tax revenue is about $270 million a year, about three times what the county takes in from property taxes, Grimm said.

The legislature has to treat businesses better, Mark Grimm said, because they generate the economic activity that funds the county’s programs.

Grimm said that one of the priorities of the caucus will be to raise awareness of small businesses in Albany County, and cited the Tuesday night public hearing on proposed county laws about paid sick leave and mandatory installation of sprinklers in new homes as examples, saying that he was amazed to hear the frustrations of small-business owners.

“New York State is not business friendly either,” he said, “so, it’s double whammy.”

Grimm said that the small-business caucus will keep a scorecard for each legislator based on each one’s friendliness to small business. Activist groups, he said, are “scorecarding people all the time.” It’s time that there was a scorecard for small-business votes, he said.

As an example of the county not treating business well, Grimm pointed to the proposed paid sick leave law that would apply only to workers employed in Albany County. With this law, he said, government is telling an employer how he has to handle paid sick leave.

“It’s that kind of intrusion, that no other counties in the area are dealing with,” Grimm said. It puts Albany County at a competitive disadvantage, he added.

“We have to stand up for business because they are working hard every day just to get by,” he said.

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