Carlucci’s Column: The Fight For Affordability & Jobs 

We must do more to create good paying jobs in the Hudson Valley to help our residents and bolster our local economy. As we know, prices continue to go up and the Federal Government has hurt homeowners with a $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions. As many residents are questioning the affordability of our state and are seeking money back at tax time, we must look to our federal government for answers.

With no help in sight, the State has stepped up, making the 2 percent property tax cap permanent in the State budget so that homeowners have relief and stability. The tax cap will help save taxpayers $189.9 billion over the next ten years.

In addition, the State budget I supported invests in New York’s businesses to help them grow and create jobs. The budget allocates $4 million for the Workforce Development Institute, which is a non-profit that solely aims to keep good jobs in our state. The budget also allocates $365,000 for the Minority Women Owned Business Development and Lending Program, which helps minority-and women-owned businesses create jobs and flourish. From February 2018 to February 2019, the State’s private sector employment count increased by 88,900. In February 2019, the number of private sector jobs in the State stood at 8,254,400. This is a trend, we must continue.

Locally, I have been at the forefront of trying to help our residents retain steady employment, sponsoring our yearly Rockland Community College Job Fair. Dozens of employers in retail, hospitality, healthcare, civil industries, and non-profit and for-profit businesses will meet with perspective job applicants. One group who benefits from our job fair is veterans. I created the Job for Heroes Act, which gives a tax credit of up to $15,000 to businesses who hire an unemployed veteran. We cannot let the heroes who served our country be on an unemployment line, and the Job Fair is one way we can help.

Through the Job Fair and other state and county initiatives, Rockland’s unemployment rate stands at 3.2 percent, down from 4.3 percent in 2017.  An unemployment rate of 3.2 percent places Rockland as the fifth lowest among all of New York’s 62 counties. The County also has an unemployment rate lower than the statewide and national average of 3.9 percent. While these numbers are strong, we always know there is more work to do to increase salaries and have no unemployment rate at all.

This year’s RCC Job Fair sponsored by Senator Carlucci will be held on Thursday, April 11th from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at RCC’s Eugene Levy Fieldhouse in Suffern.