WATER, ENERGY, HOUSING, AND INFRASTRUCTURE TOP THE LIST OF LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES FOR 2023

From left: State Senator Mario Mattera; HIA-LI President & CEO Terri Alessi-Miceli; Congressman Nick LaLota; Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim; Assemblyman Mike Fitzpatrick; Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter; Joe Campolo, HIA-LI Board Member and Partner, Campolo, Middleton & McCormick, LLP; and, Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine.

It’s essential that our public policymakers have a proper grasp of the needs of the regional business community. And one of the most effective ways to achieve this is through hands-on, real-time interaction between government leaders and businesspeople as well as non-profit leadership.

Throughout the year, HIA-LI works hard to create opportunities for this kind of in-person interaction. And we hosted such an engagement earlier this month at our 45th Annual Meeting and Legislative Program. It was held January 13 at the Radisson Hotel in Hauppauge.

No less than eight elected officials from the federal, state, county and town levels were present at the breakfast forum, which was attended by some 300 people and was moderated by HIA-LI board member Joe Campolo, managing partner with Campolo Middleton & McCormick, LLP.

Water. Energy. Housing, Infrastructure. These were the topics many of our speakers returned to again and again. How can our officials shape policies that ensure a strong, long-term economic future for Nassau and Suffolk counties?

Let me offer a quick, thumbnail summary of some of the key points raised by each of our panelists:

Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado was present via a video presentation. He highlighted the state’s investment strategy for Long Island, including Governor Kathy Hochul’s underwriting of a feasibility study to examine the possible relocation of the terminal at Long Island MacArthur Airport closer to the Ronkonkoma LIRR station. He also reinforced the value of the state’s investments in offshore wind energy. Mr. Delgado underscored the merits of the new State Office of Strategic Workforce Development he has set in motion along with the Governor. He also cited the administration’s efforts to expand housing development as a critical way to attract and retain a competitive regional employment base.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone concentrated most of his remarks on the issue of water quality – and on the need to not only create a county wastewater district – but also to find the right way to fund it.

I also had the privilege of speaking at the event, where I had a chance to emphasize the massive economic impact of The Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge as we mark our momentous 45th anniversary in 2023. To help promote the Park’s growth, we’ll be initiating an ambitious branding program, including vanity flags and new signage. I also cited Circuit Transit’s battery-powered rideshare initiative that will create new commuting opportunities for the Park’s 55,000 employees.

Newly elected Congressman Nick LaLota spoke about the need for honesty and integrity in government, and also focused attention on two themes: economic growth and public safety.

State Senator Mario Mattera called upon policymakers to fight for “local jobs for local people.” The senator also advocated for a balanced energy policy, as well as for sewer systems that will “finally bring the Town of Smithtown into the 21st century.”

Assemblyman Mike Fitzpatrick expressed concerns over the ultimate costs associated with the Climate Action Council Scoping Plan recently adopted by state officials. He also agreed with the Governor that the state needs more housing. But he said that it shouldn’t be done at the expense of abandoning “local control.”

Town of Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter urged government to “get out of the way and let businesses do what they do best.” Public officials should promote incentives – and use “carrots, not sticks.”

Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine urged business advocates to focus their attention on tax policy as a primary concern, inclusive of “real estate, sales, personal, and business taxes.” He also stated that “the one thing that will improve productivity in America is investing in infrastructure.”

Finally, Town of Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim echoed the same sentiment, asserting that investment in infrastructure is the key to “allowing Long Island to move forward.”

We are committed to working with everyone in the HIA-LI family to help secure a bright and promising future for our Park – and for Long Island.

Public Officials Talk Business Growth

From left: HIA-LI Board Chairman Joe Campolo; State Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick, Smithtown Town Supervisor Ed Wehrheim; Suffolk Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory; HIA-LI President & CEO Terri Alessi-Miceli; Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter; and, Congressman Lee Zeldin.

Public policy has a major impact upon whether our businesses become profitable and whether our organizations succeed. That’s why HIA-LI regularly brings our members face-to-face with elected officials to discuss issues of concern to the Long Island business sector.

In this spirit, the HIA-LI convened our Annual Meeting and Legislative Breakfast on Friday, January 18 at the Hamlet Golf & Country Club in Commack.

Moderated by Board Chair Joe Campolo – Managing Partner at Campolo, Middleton & McCormick, LLP – the discussion focused on business climate issues, housing, taxes, and other topics.

Panelists included Congressman Lee Zeldin, Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick, Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter, Smithtown Town Supervisor Ed Wehrheim, and Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory.

Congressman Zeldin and Legislator Gregory cited higher education’s role in sustaining economic growth. “Unemployment is at an all-time low,” the Congressman said, “but a skills gap still exists.” He said Long Island needs a “technical training route” for non-college-bound students.

Presiding Officer Gregory praised Suffolk County Community College for “helping companies fill the skills gap.” He advocated for greater emphasis on STEM learning (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) to help ensure the competitiveness of our regional workforce.

Supervisor Carpenter praised the Town’s Industrial Development Agency (IDA), noting its high level of accountability because the Town Board also functions as the IDA Board. She pinpointed Castella Imports of Brentwood as a big IDA success story in the Town.

Assemblyman Fitzpatrick said that high taxes – elevated by public sector pensions – have triggered out-migration from Long Island. “If government were smaller,” he said, “and pension costs were lower, we’d have a lower tax burden.”

As an economic development strategy in the Town of Smithtown, Supervisor Wehrheim reported that the Town is now situating workforce housing within business districts. Last summer, site plans were approved for such developments in Smithtown and Commack totaling 154 new units.

In today’s intensely competitive marketplace, the public and private sectors must collaborate and cooperate. Our Annual Legislative Breakfasts help bolster this essential, symbiotic relationship.

Thanks to everyone who helped make this breakfast event a success!