FOR SMALL BUSINESSES, THE CONFUSING MAZE OF GOVERNMENT REGULATION CAN HAVE AN EXIT DOOR
More than ever before, small companies find themselves tangled in a web of regulatory and legal issues that impede their ability to do business.
Given an ever-increasing number of regulations on the state and federal levels, the question of how to seek relief from or gain assistance of government is often confusing and frustrating. But thankfully, there can be a clear path out of this confusing labyrinth.
Companies need a bridge of sorts that connects them to government, says Lawrence Scherer, partner at State & Broadway. That is precisely what we can provide.
Business people are often confused about the role of lobbyists, believing this is a mysterious process cloaked in secrecy and involving enormous fees. But in most cases, it isn't true and working with a lobbyist is often much more attainable than most people realize. And effective lobbying is really a very efficient way for companies to work with government to seek various forms of assistance, adds Scherer.
Small and midsize businesses and trade associations can turn to lobbyists to help them:
Case in point: When the New York livery industry discovered that Governor Cuomo's new budget would include a tax on private car services, they viewed it as both a financial and a regulatory threat (given that there would be an audit process along with the new tax levy).
With deep concern that this would have a highly-negative effect on the car owners, they contacted us for help, says State & Broadway partner, Jacqueline Williams. We worked with state legislators to help them see that this would not only endanger an industry, but would also likely drive reputable car owners into the unregulated, untaxed, underground economy. After our lobbying campaign, the governor agreed to remove the offensive tax from the budget.
They really saved our industry from near certain devastation, says Avik Kabessa, CEO of Carmel Car Service, a leader in the livery industry. Many of the drivers are poorly-educated immigrants with little time, money or knowledge to deal with complex legislative and regulatory issues. State & Broadway understood the issues, the impact on our industry, got us fully-engaged quickly and did a remarkable job of making government work for us.
The fact is, a professional lobbying firm can play an important role in preventing government from adopting policies that can either wittingly or unwittingly harm a business or industry.
LIFE OF PI OSCAR NOMINATION ONE MORE FEATHER IN NEW YORK'S CAP, TAX CREDITS POWERFUL INCENTIVES TO FILM INDUSTRY
New York State film industry insiders are hailing Life of Pi's sound editing Academy Award nomination as yet more proof that New York State is still a film mecca.
In addition to the obvious post-production talent in New York, lobbying efforts have resulted in legislation signed into law in 2012 that enhanced the post-production tax credit from 10% to 30%, boosting the number of projects brought to the state to twenty-four.
Production and post-production work tends to go where economic support is most favorable. New York's embedded film industry which is vital to the state remains here as long as the state competes for its business, says Lawrence Scherer, President of State & Broadway, a government relations firm specializing in serving organizations, film unions and corporations seeking lobbying support in Albany.
The film business is like a traveling road show, says Paul Moore, Eastern Executive Director of the Motion Picture Editors Guild. The tax credits and an Oscar nod are powerful incentives for film makers to shoot and complete film projects in the Empire State. Scherer and his associates started to tackle the tax issue eight years ago when they began lobbying for a post-production tax credit incentive. At the time, even the legislature was unaware that New York was so heavily engaged in post-production work.
When Governor Cuomo signed legislation in July to increase the rebate from 10% to 30%, he made New York the leader in incentivizing post-production projects, says Scherer. Twenty-four new post-production projects are committed to come to New York in the next seven months. But it would't have happened if we had not engaged in a systematic lobbying approach in which we worked with individual legislators, leadership and the Governor on the economic potential of film and television post-production work.
New York has long been home to a major, but hidden component of the film industry, namely productions that employ thousands. But the cost of doing business in New York was always considered more expensive. According to Marcelo Gondola, President of the Post New York Alliance, the increase in the tax rebate from 10-30% and 35% for upstate is a big incentive to bring post-production work to New York State.
Productions that shoot outside of New York rarely brought their finishing work to New York. Now, with the incentive and the obvious talent and technical infrastructure, we are developing into a post-production hub, concludes Gandola.
Local industry insiders, including the partners of C5, Inc., the sound post-production facility whose work on Life of Pi resulted in the nomination and last year's win for Hugo, are clearly seeing signs that the tax credits are working to bring film-making back to New York and are keeping it here through the post-production stage.
We've gotten calls galore about films being shot in March. I totally attribute it to the legislation. It's very attractive, hard to argue. For the longest time, post-production was considered too expensive in New York. That argument is now negated, says Ron Bochar, part owner of C5, Inc. It would not have happened if not for the tax incentives. There is a huge up-tick in the construction of boutique mixing rooms, people are getting more work. It is already changing the landscape, bringing confidence.