2024 Advocacy Agenda

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2023 was a strong year of rebuilding for Greater Rochester. We are proud to have helped hundreds of businesses in securing support to grow and expand their business, navigating government agencies, procuring permits and licensures necessary for their success, and advocating directly to decisionmakers through meetings, memoranda, letters, phone calls, and advocacy days.

We were proud to play a key role in securing additional much-needed funding for hospitals and longterm care facilities, increased funding for public transit, and progress on measures to make our communities safer. In addition, our direct advocacy efforts yielded over 130 victories for our members across local, state, and federal levels Through strategic meetings and active support, we influenced positive outcomes, offering memoranda to endorse beneficial legislation and opposing proposals that posed harm to our membership. These accomplishments represent just a glimpse into the myriad ways Greater Rochester Chamber stood by your side throughout the past year

In the session ahead our efforts will be centered around delivering the relief and support that you not only desperately need, but rightfully deserve Our focus remains sharp as we lead the charge on pivotal policies encompassing tax and mandate relief, economic and workforce development, public safety, healthcare, education, transportation, and infrastructure. Each day our staff is connecting with leaders at every level of government to ensure your voices are heard and our priorities are reinforced

For questions regarding our advocacy or to discuss public policy issues, please contact me at RDuffy@GreaterRochesterChamber com or Marc Cohen at Marc Cohen@GreaterRochesterChamber com

We look forward to partnering with you to ensure Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes region continue to grow and succeed in 2024!


New York State is seen as uncompetitive for business because of comparatively high taxes and mandates Certain reforms have been implemented to ease the burden, but there is much more to be done Greater Rochester Chamber:


Supports paying down NYʼs nearly $7 billion in outstanding Unemployment Insurance debt that has led to costly surcharges for employers

2 Supports legislation to clarify that liquidated damages are not applicable to past and future pay frequency violations where the employee was otherwise paid the wages owed. Doing so will aid in avoiding frivolous lawsuits due to ambiguous language in an antiquated policy

Supports sunsetting of COVID-19 specific sick leave while maintaining existing traditional sick leave


Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business for the Finger Lakes Region In furtherance of mission to promote economic prosperity throughout Greater Rochester, Greater Rochester Chamber:

3 Supports expanding tax reforms for New Yorkʼs manufacturers to allow for job creation 4 Supports tax rate decreases on small businesses 5
Supports policies and efforts that meaningfully address the impact
the Benefits Cliff 1 Supports the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Priorities: (1) Promote Economic Justice; (2) Grow Jobs; (3) Increase Regional Wealth; (4) Drive Private Investment;
(5) Reduce Poverty 2 Supports the Rochester-Buffalo-Syracuse regional application for federal funding to further semiconductor manufacturing through the Regional Technology Hub competition 3 Supports policies that will decrease crime, deter re-offenders,
the business community that our Urban Core is ripe for investment. 4. Supports additional funding for the FAST-NY program 5 Supports reinvestment for the Regional Economic Development Council Initiative 6 Supports reinvestment for the Downtown Revitalization Initiative 7 Supports the growth, creation, and promotion of MWBEʼs and the empowerment of regional offices to streamline the certification process 8. Supports the New York/Canada economic corridor 9 Supports policies that reduce the amount of time it takes for NY to deliver on grants 10
and instill confidence in
voice of


Among the most pressing issues facing our businesses is having a pipeline of qualified, skilled workers to fill jobs Funding for education, improved coordination, and targeted investment in talent management will be invaluable toward making progress Greater Rochester Chamber is proud to be the regional lead for talent strategy in partnership with many community organizations that focus specifically on workforce development Greater Rochester Chamber:

1 Supports policies that strategically address and mitigate the challenges associated with the benefits cliff, ensuring a seamless transition for individuals and families as they strive for economic selfsufficiency


Supports deploying already authorized workforce development funding to close the gap in preparing individuals for jobs in high need sectors

2 Supports strengthening the education infrastructure needed to train aspiring healthcare professionals

4 Supports efforts that create greater alignment between job creators and job seekers including Governor Hochulʼs proposed public-private funding partnerships that would create new internship opportunities for students


Supports making it easier and more affordable to enter the healthcare workforce by authorizing NYS to permit interstate licensure compacts (A.6421 and A.4860/S.2216-A).

5 Supports making private, not-for-profit higher education institutions and their students, as well as all academic medical centers in NYS, eligible for workforce recruiting programs such as the “Nurses for our Future Scholarship ”

Supports increased funding for CATs and COEs to $1 25 Million per center 7 Supports efforts to employ Greater Rochesterʼs very capable disabled community 8 Supports additional investment for TAP, Bundy Aid, HECap, and STEAM funding. 9. Supports maintaining a funding floor for community colleges at 100% of prior year 10 Supports further investment in P-TECH 11 Supports the Finger Lakes region as a test site for new workforce development projects 12 Will continue our work to increase collaboration with regional colleges and universities to help foster communication between employers and talent 13.



Healthcare providers and systems in New York are in crisis Per a recent study by the Healthcare Association of NYS (HANYS), roughly 74% of hospitals state-wide continue to report a negative or unsustainable operating margin Contract Labor costs continue to rise, with state-wide hospitals reporting contract labor costs totaling roughly 11% of their labor expenses, compared to 2019 when labor contract labor costs were roughly 5% of total labor costs. Both the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) and Rochester Regional Health (RRH) continue to have to pay more than $20 million per month for contract labor Statewide, hospitals and health systems generate 859,000 jobs and $201 billion in economic activity Healthcare systems are a critical component of our ecosystem but, for decades, have experienced untenable cuts from NYS. In NYS, Medicare and Medicaid patients makeup 71% of all people admitted to hospitals Greater Rochester Chamber:


Supports a multi-year state commitment to close the gap between Medicaid payments and costs in three years to include a 7 5% across-the-board increase in the FY 2024-25 budget, a 7 5% across-the-board increase in the FY 2025-26 budget, and implementation of payment reform to cover the cost of care in the FY 2026-27 budget


Supports releasing the dollars promised to Greater Rochester hospitals to help with the loss of the 340B drug benefit program that were enacted in the 2023-24 Enacted Budget


Supports measures allowing healthcare professionals to practice at the top of their license and training such as by recognizing CRNAs in state law (A.6958/S.769).


Supports reauthorizing telehealth payment parity and remove the sunset clause (A 4940/ S 2776)


Supports measures to change traveling nurse company rules that are currently taking advantage of the healthcare crisis for their own financial benefit.

Supports providing quality insurance coverage to the less than 5% of New Yorkerʼs who are uninsured/underinsured rather than replacing our current healthcare system with a costly staterun system


6 Supports reducing the taxes, surcharges, and assessments imposed on employers and individuals who purchase health insurance (including the premium tax and HCRA).

years, with occupancy rates exceeding 100% on any given day. In NYS today, there are 5,600 fewer nursing home beds available than in 2019 With staffing mandates to fill ratios, a lack of proper reimbursement for services, a shrinking and aging workforce, rising costs for temporary labor, and the closure of facilities in our region, the Rochester region now has approximately 1,000 unstaffed, but available, nursing home beds. Because of this, Greater Rochester Chamber:


Supports a 16% increase in the Medicaid rate in the proposed FY 2024-25 NYS budget for longterm care facilities and nursing homes Specifically, we request the implementation of the 16% Medicaid rate increase for nursing homes starting April 1, 2024. Doing so will provide a critical “downpayment” to successfully reform and rebase nursing home Medicaid rates by 2025.

2 Authorize the use of Medication Technicians in nursing homes (A.8299).

Update Medicaid Rate Methodology Nursing home rates based on 2007 costs do not reflect current costs, which impacts the ability to provide competitive wages and retain staff Rebasing rates is necessary for long-term sustainability



Growing the Finger Lakes region economy requires investment in transportation, energy, technology, and infrastructure Promoting sustainable business practices plays a significant role in corporate social responsibility. Greater Rochester Chamber:

Supports efforts to expand reliable broadband and cellular service throughout all of New York State while ensuring the cost to do so does not fall squarely on providers

1 Supports a reform to Scaffold Law by replacing absolute liability with a comparative negligence standard – the same standards used in every state except New York (NYʼs general liability insurance costs are highest in the nation)

2 Supports investment in renewable energy and efficiencies to move energy resources to NYS including making NY a green hydrogen hub and expanding the electric vehicle industry

3 Supports investment in funding of public transit programs which support job growth


4. Supports investment in operating support, capital assistance, and surface transportation design/repair in Upstate


We are there for member companies on individual matters that require support and assistance. As a member, your urgent issues becomes our urgent issue If it matters to you, it matters to us We aid in company-specific legislative, regulatory, and funding issues at the regional, state, and federal levels including, but not limited to:

Navigating the processes to obtain permits/certifications/variances

Assisting with navigating government agency processes


MWBE Certification

Letters of Support

Letters of Introduction

If your business is experiencing any issues, please reach out to Marc Cohen@GreaterRochesterChamber com We will put our hard-earned relationships to work for you and your business.

C O N N E C T T O S U C C E S S GreaterRochesterChamber.com
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