Your local and regional chamber has a lot on its plate in 2021, but I’m excited to get started because we have the team in place to tackle the job and a year under our belts of working together to get the kinks out, under very difficult conditions. If we can just get past the height of this pandemic a lot of positive things can happen.
Please be safe out there everybody, act responsibly, and look out for each other, so we can get back to something approaching normal in our community.
This year’s Advocacy Agenda will feature many important topics, with a concentration on recovery and equity. Recovering from the financial crisis of 2020 is going to take a lot of effort at all levels, because while the federal stimulus has helped many, the stability of many for profit and not-for-profit businesses and local governments remain in peril.
We at the Capital Region Chamber will push hard for additional COVID-19 related financial assistance, permanent and broad based income tax reduction for business owners, infrastructure investment, a five- year moratorium on the Scaffold Law, policies and increased funding for childcare, workforce and training programs, and support for community based nonprofits, the hospitality industry, performing arts and the local municipalities themselves, which all saw massive revenue challenges due to the COVID economy.
Also, we will advocate for inclusive workforce development opportunities, improvements to MWBE (Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises) certification, greater access to capital for minority owned businesses, equitable school funding and access to advanced courses, and equitable broadband access, plus much more.
Our local Chamber of Southern Saratoga County affiliate, the official chamber of commerce of Clifton Park and Halfmoon, is partnering with the Saratoga County Economic Development Committee of Supervisors for the eighth straight year to administer the Saratoga County Community Development Program.
It was a challenge working effectively this past year given the inability to assemble groups, but we had strong support from various volunteers who assisted on an individual basis. This meant that Historic Lock 19, the Vischer Ferry Picnic Area, the Mechanicville Gazebo and dockside bulletin board, the Clifton Park Visitor Center at the Exit 9 Rest Area and others remained on their service schedules. The Southern Saratoga County Chamber Angels assisted 456 needy children at the holiday season, and the Malta Business Community Alliance continues to maintain and upgrade the MaltaNYBusiness.com website.
All of these things will pay dividends this year. We have to stay safe, but can’t let the pandemic impede our economic progress and community growth if we can possibly prevent it. It’s important to work together wherever possible to ensure that we get past this trial … together.