Assemblyman Burke Co-Sponsors Legislation to Continue Aiding Small Businesses and the Unemployed

Assemblyman Pat Burke (D-Buffalo) announced that he co-sponsored and helped pass a legislative package to support workers and small-businesses owners who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 “Small businesses and workers across Western New York have suffered greatly during this global health crisis, and we need to do everything we can to help,” said Burke. “Today, we made strides toward ensuring no one is unfairly penalized for following public health guidelines. Helping rebuild our economy while our friends and neighbors remain safe is my top priority, and I’ll keep working with local and state leaders to make that a reality.”

Recently, Burke met with local business owners to discuss how the Assembly could further support them.[1] One of the measures discussed would exclude unemployment charges made during the COVID-19 pandemic from being used to calculate an employer’s experience rating, which is used to assess unemployment insurance tax rates (A.2001-A). Legislation passed today would ensure businesses that saw an unexpected increase in unemployment claims due to government-mandated shutdowns will not be unfairly penalized.

Burke also co-sponsored legislation that would replace the current system for determining eligibility for partial unemployment insurance benefits and extends eviction protections for small businesses with less than 50 employees and a demonstrable financial hardship caused by the pandemic (A. 2355-A; A. 3207). Penalizing small businesses for complying with government-ordered shutdowns will hinder their ability to grow and rebuild when the pandemic ends, so it’s important to act now, Burke noted.