Rosenberg: Progressives reach into the pockets of business community

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This spring the arrival of crocuses has been surpassed by an April blizzard of fund raising requests to the business community from candidates who would not know how to meet a corporate payroll if their lives depended upon it.

At a time when many in Albany view capitalism and free enterprise as a malignant threat to their socialist agenda it is no small irony that it is the Long Island business community being asked to donate, contribute, and support candidates who are often profoundly anti-business. Perhaps it is because some of these Progressives have actually embraced Lenin’s cynical belief that “capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them…”

Successfully preventing Amazon from locating its corporate headquarters in Queens in 2019 was just an opening salvo for the Progressives seeking to reengineer (i.e. destroy) the State. At the time the left leaning Albany legislature opposed Amazon’s promise of economic investment in the region and chased some 25,000 potential jobs to beyond the State line. At the time the New York Times observed, “The company’s decision was at least a short-term win for insurgent progressive politicians led by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose upset victory last year occurred in the western corner of Queens where Amazon had planned its site.”

The Democrat Congresswoman gleefully tweeted that day, “Anything is possible: today was the day a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers & their neighbors defeated Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world.”

The Times was wrong. It was not a “short-term win’ but a preface to a series of proposals, initiatives and legislation that would follow, seeking to remake the State of New York into a national model for their Progressive agenda. Some of these issues have been tabled or amended this election year because the Progressives sense that centrist New Yorkers are not buying what they are selling. Nevertheless, their list has included “bail reform” and “Good Cause Eviction.”

The later would essentially be a unilateral immunity bill for tenants that would, among other dictates, cap rent increases and prevent landlords from evicting tenants without a “good cause.” Which means only if a tenant is abusive to other tenants, violent, or threatening will the landlord even have the right to pursue a long, and costly legal battle ahead of them in order to secure an eviction.

Another Progressive initiative that would place the excessive cost of their agenda on the shoulders of the business community is a proposed mandate to eliminate after 2024 the use of natural gas, oil, or propane for new construction. That proposal is astonishing to many in our real estate industry, an industry where investment dollars can go where it has the ability to not only be recouped but to have the ability to actually earn a return on their investment. This so-called “green initiative” undoubtedly will result in billions in new construction investment dollars being sent to those states that offer a rational and realistic approach to new construction.

All of this makes it politically challenging for Long Island’s delegation to Albany. Sen. Todd Kaminsky’s fate is particularly instructive as he made the mistake to join the Progressives in their so-called “bail reform” vote, only to be soundly defeated in his run for Nassau County district attorney, as that particular vote issue defined him to the point where he has declined to seek reelection. Yet the once powerful Long Island Senate delegation is now a political appendage to the Progressives that dominate both Albany chambers. And this is a legislature that approved a $220.5 billion budget for Fiscal 2023.

The Albany based think tank, The Empire Center, has done the math and they are reporting that this budget will spend at a rate equivalent to $6,987.37 per second, $419,242.36 per minute, $25,154,541.35 per hour, or $604,109,589 per day. It is a stunning number, and it reflects the convergence of one shot federal COVID funds coupled with a Progressive agenda that views the business community as a target for a hostile takeover. It is worth contemplating that reality the next time you get yet another campaign donation request.

Rosenberg, a graduate of St. John’s University Law School, is senior founding partner of Rosenberg, Calica & Birney LLP, a Garden City law firm.



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