Matt Cohen, president and CEO of the Long Island Association.

Matt Cohen, president and CEO of the Long Island Association. Credit: Danielle Silverman

Promoting diversity from the shop floor to the corporate board room, supporting small businesses and addressing Long Island’s high costs to keep young people from leaving are among the top priorities of the region’s most prominent business group.

The Long Island Association on Thursday unveils its 2022 agenda for governmental action at the federal, state and local levels. The 31 priorities were approved this month by the group’s board of directors. Newsday publisher Debby Krenek is a board member.

Release of the LIA’s "2022 Policy Priorities" comes as the State Legislature wraps up public hearings on Gov. Kathy Hochul’s proposed 2022-23 state budget and President Joe Biden prepares for his March 1 State of the Union Address to Congress.

"One of our top three priorities is creating a more diverse, equitable and inclusive economy," said Matt Cohen, the LIA’s president and CEO. "Adding more people of color, more women to your business … is going to help you become more successful. Census data shows that Long Island continues to evolve demographically," he said.

The LIA also supports greater participation in government contracting by firms owned by minorities, women and veterans and an "equitable distribution" of economic development aid to low-income communities, according to the group’s 12-page priorities booklet.

The LIA will "speak out against racial steering, segregation and speech that breeds hatred, especially against undocumented immigrants, which hurts the perception of our business region," states the booklet, which may be found at https://www.longislandassociation.org/policy-priorities/.

To aid small businesses, Cohen said he and others will lobby the legislature to adopt Hochul’s $1 billion "rescue plan" for those still struggling through the pandemic.

The plan includes a COVID Capital Investment Tax Credit for small firms that have or will make changes to their operations to protect customers and employees, such as ventilation systems and safety retrofits. There also would be state investments in technology startups and small businesses that don’t qualify for bank loans.

Cohen said the LIA opposes future shutdowns of the economy to slow the coronavirus’ spread.

He listed a number of remedies to the region’s ever-increasing costs, including the elimination of the $10,000 federal cap on deductions of state and local taxes, more affordable child-care slots and additional housing near Long Island Rail Road stations.

The LIA opposes any new taxes or fees on businesses and single-payer, government-run health insurance.

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