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.

Mixed Use is the Best Use

I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy.

This blog post is an “Action Alert” to members and friends of HIA-LI. There is something very simple that you can do to help secure the long-term future of the Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge.

Between now and June 11, the Town of Smithtown is seeking comments on a proposal to create “overlay zoning” that would permit mixed-use development in a portion of the Park. Approval of this plan is essential to the success of our Park. But it has encountered resistance from some local residents.

So we’re calling upon businesses and citizens to send an email to members of the Smithtown Town Council favoring the change. While messages from Town residents and businesses are best, anyone can comment.

You must send your email by June 11 to be made a part of the public record. Council members’ email addresses appear below.

You can mention all or some of these points:

  • The change would provide young professionals with the opportunity to enjoy the Park for living, working, and recreation.
  • A study by Suffolk County IDA and the Regional Plan Association found an urgent need on Long Island for housing for young professionals. It’s key to attracting and retaining a talented and competitive workforce.
  • A survey of the Park’s business owners found that a number-one concern is attracting and retaining a skilled workforce.
  • A survey showed that 68 percent of our area’s young people are contemplating leaving this area within the next five years. They’d leave behind an aging population incapable of filling local jobs.
  • Rental units are sorely needed on Long Island. The Nassau-Suffolk rental housing market represents just 21 percent of households, compared to nearby suburban regions such as Westchester (35 percent) and Northern New Jersey (37 percent).
  • In the Town of Smithtown, the situation is further exacerbated – only 6.7 percent of households are renter-occupied.
  • The Park’s success is vital to the community’s future. The Park delivers $19.6 million in assessed value to the Town, and provides more than $44 million to the Hauppauge School District. New tax revenue would fully offset any added demands for local services.
  • Some claim the development would burden local schools. That’s inaccurate: it would generate no more than 90 students over a decade. Yet the district lost 110 students within this past year alone.
  • That’s because the apartments would mostly be studio and one-bedroom units geared to singles or couples without children.
  • Added traffic would be sustainable, with only a moderate increase on weekends
  • We urge you to approve an overlay district to allow creation of mixed-use development within the Innovation Park

To help us keep track of support for this zone change, it would be very helpful if you would send a copy of any emails to me at talessi@hia-li.org.

This is important initiative, so please take action today. Thank you!

Please send messages to:
Hon. Ed Wehrheim, Smithtown Supervisor, supervisor@smithtownny.gov
Hon. Tom McCarthy, Smithtown Deputy Supervisor, tmccarthy@smithtownny.gov
Hon. Lynne Nowick, Smithtown Councilperson, lnowick@smithtownny.gov
Hon. Lisa Inzerillo, Smithtown Councilperson, linzerillo@smithtownny.gov
Hon. Tom Lohmann, Snithtown Councilperson, twlohmann@smithtownny.gov

Working with Government from a Regional Perspective

Annual Meeting and Legislative Reception 1-17-20
From left: Joe Campolo, Managing Partner, Campolo, Middleton & McCormick, LLP and Chairman, HIA-LI Board of Directors; Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim; Islip Town IDA Executive Director Bill Mannix; Assemblyman Mike Fitzpatrick; State Senator John Flanagan; County Executive Steve Bellone; and, Congressman Lee Zeldin.

To maintain Long Island’s economic competitiveness for the long run, the public sector needs to maintain a rich dialogue with the private sector.

That’s why HIA-LI takes pride in hosting forums where business and government come together to exchange ideas and to highlight the region’s centers of economic development opportunity.

A classic example was the 42nd HIA-LI Annual Meeting and Legislative Breakfast held January 17 at the Radisson Hotel in Hauppauge.

Attended by more than 350 representatives of Long Island’s business community, our high-octane panel of public officials included Congressman Lee Zeldin, State Senator John Flanagan, Assemblyman Mike Fitzpatrick, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Smithtown Town Supervisor Ed Wehrheim, and Bill Mannix, Executive Director of the Islip Town IDA.

Moderator Joe Campolo, Managing Partner of Campolo, Middleton & McCormick, LLP and Chairman of HIA-LI’s Board of Directors, emphasized the large percentage of businesses at the Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge engaged in value-added “tradeable” sectors exporting goods and services out of the region.

The Park’s “tradeability” ratio ranks “20 percent above the national average” for similar business clusters.

Congressman Zeldin praised Brookhaven National Lab for securing a $2-billion federal award to build an Electron Ion Collider, a project will “inject billions of dollars and an extensive number of jobs into Long Island’s economy.”

Senator Flanagan said his focus in Albany this year would be to “maximize education funding, capital investments such as roads and bridges, and increase funding for the LIRR via the MTA.”

State government must do more to relieve fiscal burdens on localities, said Assemblyman Fitzpatrick, by curtailing its “cost-shifting” practices.

County Executive Bellone highlighted the Nicolls Road Corridor’s role as a platform for the revitalization of Patchogue, the forthcoming Ronkonkoma Hub, new growth at Long Island MacArthur Airport, and the ever-expanding Stony Brook University.

The Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge is on a multi-track growth trajectory, said Supervisor Wehrheim, because state, county, and town governments have “put politics aside” and built consensus on success strategies for the Park.

Sewer expansion is key to Suffolk County’s economic growth, said Bill Mannix, citing a recent $10-million state grant to the Town of Islip to extend sewer lines into downtown communities.

As HIA-LI members spend each day focused on growing our own individual enterprises, we also understand the importance of viewing our work within a regional perspective. As evidenced by our Legislative Breakfast, Long Island is fortunate to be represented by elected officials who also understand the value of long-term regional growth.