Getting President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus plan passed, opposing establishment of single-payer health insurance and addressing Long Island's looming garbage crisis are among the top lobbying priorities of the region's most prominent business group.
The Long Island Association on Monday released its 2021 priorities for governmental action at the federal, state and local levels.
The LIA’s board of directors approved 31 top priorities last week as Biden was inaugurated and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo proposed his 2021-22 state budget. Newsday publisher Debby Krenek is among the 75 board members.
The group's No. 1 focus is Biden’s "American Rescue Plan" because it would provide $350 billion nationwide to state and local governments, and $20 billion for mass transit such as the Long Island Rail Road – all of which are facing budget deficits due to the pandemic, said LIA president Kevin Law.
"Without federal assistance, we’ll likely see state and local taxes increase and major service cuts on the MTA system," which includes the LIRR, said Law, who serves on the MTA board. "The American Rescue Plan would provide more funding for Long Island’s small businesses, who are still hurting."
He said Biden’s proposal to spend $1.3 trillion on improvements to roads, bridges, broadband and other infrastructure would "help to rebuild our economy and create jobs" after last spring’s shutdown of nonessential activity to slow the coronavirus’ spread.
The LIA opposes the establishment of single-payer health insurance, known as Medicare for All, at the federal or state levels. "We think it would put tremendous cost on businesses," Law said, adding the group opposes new taxes and fees.
Law said the LIA and Long Island Regional Planning Council have formed a committee to propose solutions to local governments about garbage disposal after the Brookhaven Town landfill closes in 2024. The committee meets for the first time this week.
"Commercial businesses generate almost half the waste here on Long Island and people’s solid waste [disposal] costs are going to skyrocket unless we come up with a plan before our landfill spaces close," he said. "This is a crisis that we’re two years away [from] and nobody’s doing anything about it."
LIA's top priorities
The Long Island Association's 2021 lobbying priorities:
* Pass President Joe Biden's stimulus and infrastructure spending plans
* End the $10,000 cap on deducting state and local taxes on federal income tax returns
* Oppose single-payer health insurance and new taxes and fees on businesses
* Propose solutions for garbage disposal after the Brookhaven Town landfill closes in 2024
* Support development of a convention center south of the Ronkonkoma LIRR station
SOURCE: Long Island Association