The Otsego County Chamber of Commerce
2014 Public Policy Agenda
The Otsego County Chamber of Commerce (OCCC) is pleased to announce its 2014 Public Policy Agenda.
The OCCC board of directors adopted the Agenda which details issues of most importance to the business community for the 2014 fiscal year. This agenda serves as the framework of the Chamber’s Mission in support of the development of a strong business climate in Otsego County. Our member- driven Chamber is the leading advocate for economic development, prosperity and the improvement of the quality of life for all residents in Otsego County. The public policy agenda has four core initiative priorities:
- Improve Regulatory Environment & Business Climate
- Environment & Energy
- Education & Workforce Development
The Otsego County Chamber of Commerce will proactively work with our elected officials and decision makers at the local, state and federal levels to impact decisions that will positively affect the business climate of Otsego County, as it relates to regulatory concerns. With the help of our members and partners, we can utilize the framework for guiding responsible public policy decisions that foster economic growth, job creation and a strong quality of life for our communities.
Improve Regulatory Environment & Business Climate
Workers’ Compensation Reform
New York currently has the highest workers’ compensation rates in the country, which hurts businesses and severely limits Otsego County ability to compete on a national and global scale. To change the current conditions, significant administrative and legislative reforms to New York workers’ compensation system are needed. The most immediate goal is to make reforms that allow business owners to pay smaller premiums. The long-term goal is to fundamentally reform the system so that New York regains its competitive balance.
Utilities such as water, sewer, mobile phone and broadband are critical to the continued economic viability of Otsego County. Expand availability of workforce housing. These infrastructures will keep the state and local economy strong and enhance our quality of life in Otsego County.
We believe that an economically strong Agriculture Industry is an essential part of the growth and sustainability of our overall economy. The Chamber supports the development of natural resources in a manner that is both economically viable and environmentally sustainable for the long term.
We will promote cooperation between state agencies and business in Otsego County to streamline services and limit requirements that place additional burdens on businesses, while not compromising environmental quality in Otsego County.
- The Otsego County Chamber will work with the administration of the New York Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, the Business Council of New York, Chamber Alliance New York and the New York legislature to advocate for reform.
- We will keep communication open informing policy makers to make infrastructure investment a top priority.
Environment & Energy
To support and expand green initiatives that foster advancements in alternative energy technology, energy efficiency and cost saving opportunities for businesses. There is great potential for energy development in Otsego County. This is an opportunity to provide good paying jobs to existing businesses, which will create capital and infrastructure improvements to the region.
- The Otsego County Chamber of Commerce will continue to partner with local environmentally responsible businesses and organizations to ensure members are able to access affordable energy services.
- Promote policies and funding that enhance the expansion and retention of local industry clusters such as advanced materials (metal, polymers and liquid crystals); healthcare (biomedical);advanced energy; instruments, controls; and electronics and service (finance, insurance, real estate and housing) as an integral part of our economic growth strategy.
We support market-driven solutions to control growth in healthcare costs and to foster competition in the private health insurance market. We advocate for fair and equitable reimbursement plans for healthcare providers ensuring their continued growth in the region. We actively support wellness, availability to healthy foods, exercise, recreation and healthcare access.
- The Otsego County Chamber of Commerce will partner with regional organizations to promote education and awareness opportunities that will help small and medium size businesses address healthcare costs.
Education & Workforce Development
We seek to develop a strong and vibrant workforce that meets the needs of businesses by enhancing the education, training and workforce development programs within the public school system, BOCES and higher education institutions. We support the attraction and retention of a talented workforce.
- The Otsego County Chamber will collaborate with partners in advocating for policies and funding that will build a diverse and skilled regional workforce.
- Support programs that align employee skills to business needs by supporting public and private efforts to bridge employer needs.
- Support programs for STEM and career and technical learning in middle and high school.
- Work with community leadership on creating a program for young entrepreneurs. Increase ability to share services which will enhance opportunities for students.
- The business community will articulate their employment skill set needs to the Chamber annually, which will then be shared with our Educational partners.