The Senate Finance Committee's current health reform proposal creates a devastating tax on the medical manufacturing industry with a resulting $40 billion cost to companies over the next 10 years. $40 billion! This means $40 billion not spent on research, jobs, and new product development - which is a particularly tough hit on our life sciences industry here in Buffalo Niagara, and, as a result, our regional economy as a whole. This week, we advocated in opposition to this new tax to Senators Gillibrand and Schumer, and urge you to do the same - we've prepared a sample letter for you to cut and paste onto your company letterhead.
As the health care debate burns in Washington, it is still amazing that the focus is on health insurance, and not the cost of health care, itself. So much so, in fact, that proposals such as this one that would actually ADD to the cost of health care continue to arise. It's important to corral this debate.
Also, the Partnership weighed in this week on a stipulation of SAFETEA-LU federal highway funding that would rescind $8.7 billion from states on September 30 (yes, five days from now) if the measure is not repealed. New York State stands to lose $407 million (over $35 million from our region). With the federal government JUST pumping billions of dollars into infrastructure, it makes little sense for Washington to now begin pulling other highway money back. It's understandable, of course, that the purpose of including the rescission in the initial SAFETEA-LU legislation was to make sure the funding was used and not stockpiled. But times have changed, and the success of the stimulus program relies upon states following through with these capital programs. We need Congress to act quickly on this in the midst of the on-going healthcare debate, because next Wednesday, a mass of infrastructure funding will go away if the rescission is not repealed. We'll be pushing for this repeal more next week.