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Presentation reports on the federal tax proposals currently offered by our US Presidential Candidates

Special thanks to Kevin Hedley, of Hedley & Company, PLLC, who was kind enough to share with the Chamber a copy of a presentation he made at an event hosted by his firm on January 27, 2016. This presentation included a compilation of current federal tax policies along with a range of proposals to change these policies by some of the Presidential candidates based on a review of their websites as of this date. The inclusion or exclusion of any political candidate from this presentation does not reflect any commentary or endorsement of any political party or candidate by the firm or by the Chamber. We are sharing this information solely because we think the information is interesting and timely.

Click here to review this special presentation.


Saratoga Springs, NY – Matt Jones, of The Jones Firm, has been elected the 2016 Chair of the Board of Directors of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce and will assume this new volunteer leadership position starting January 1, 2016. Valeri Muratori, the Executive Director of Saratoga Bridges, served as the Chair of the Chamber’s Board in 2015 and will continue to serve on the Executive Board as the Immediate Past Chair. 

The Chair Elect for 2016 will be David Collins, of D.A. Collins & Companies, who will become Chair of the Board in 2017. The Vice Chairs of the Chamber’s Board of Directors will be Brian Straughter, of the Turf Hotels and the Hampton Inn Saratoga, and Theresa Agresta, of Allegory Studios. The Chamber’s Treasurer for 2016 will be Kevin Hedley, of Hedley & Company, and the Secretary will be Nafeesa Koslik, of the Hampton Inn Clifton Park.

The members elected by the Board of Directors to serve a three year term on the Board starting January 1, 2016, and running until December 31, 2018, are: Theresa Agresta, of Allegory Studios; Shelly Amato, of the Wesley Community; Raj Ghoshal, of Polyset; Daryl Glass, of Target Distribution; Nafeesa Koslik, of the Hampton Inn – Clifton Park; Jessica Petraccione, of First National Bank of Scotia; Christianne Smith, of DesignSmith Studios. 

Three members were appointed to serve a one-year term on the Chamber’s Board of Directors starting January 1, 2016, including: Chad Beatty, Saratoga Today; John Bove, Bove Fuels; and Skip Carlson, Saratoga Casino. Cliff Van Wagner, of The Wesley Company, was selected to serve on the Board for one year as a Past Chair of the Board.

The other members of the Chamber’s Board of Directors are: Kevin Soukup, of GLOBALFOUNDRIES; Steve Springer, of Atlantic-British; Cassie Fox, of N. Fox Jewelers; Peter Goutos, of CA Smith; David DeMarco, of Saratoga National Bank and Trust; Marianne Barker, of Impressions of Saratoga; David Cummings, of the Run at Saratoga; Dr. Adam Favro, of Turning Point Chiropractic; Art Johnson, of the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership and the Town of Wilton; Beth Alexander, of Hattie’s Restaurant; Dan Wagner, of State Farm Insurance; and Charlie Wait, of The Adirondack Trust Company.
The Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce has 2400 members and is a visible and vocal promoter and advocate for its members and all of the communities in Saratoga County. The Chamber’s Board of Directors includes 28 members all of whom are employed by firms with operations in Saratoga County from Clifton Park to Halfmoon and Mechanicville; to Malta, Saratoga, Wilton, and Stillwater; as well as Ballston Spa and the City of Saratoga Springs. These volunteers represent small and large operations in the retail, manufacturing, finance, hospitality, nonprofit, banking, accounting, distribution, health care, marketing, legal, insurance, agricultural, government, restaurant, media and construction sectors.

Pictured below from left to right: 2016 Vice Chair Brian Straughter, Turf Hotels; 2016 Treasurer Kevin Hedley, Hedley & Company; 2015 Treasurer and 2016 Vice Chair Theresa Agresta, Allegory Studios; 2016 Chair Elect David Collins, DA Collins; 2015 Chair of the Board Valeri Muratori, Saratoga Bridges; 2016 Chair of the Board Matt Jones, the Jones Firm; 2016 Secretary of the Board Nafeesa Koslik; and 2014 Chair of the Board and the 2015 Immediate Past-Chair Steve von Schenk, The Adirondack Trust Company.

2016 Executive Committee_copy

News you can use!

The Fast Food Wage Hike—What Is It, Who Is Affected, and Can Anything Be Done About It?
By Michael Billok, Member Labor & Employment, Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC

Billok_MSo it’s happened, and quickly: on May 6, Governor Cuomo announced that he was going to empanel a Wage Board to raise the minimum wage in the fast-food industry, and given the “fight for $15” movement to raise the fast-food minimum wage to $15 per hour, nobody doubted the Wage Board would reach the desired result.  Thus, when the Board’s recommendations were announced just over two months later on July 22, the ultimate goal to raise the wage to $15 per hour was not a surprise, but there are other details of which area employers should be aware.

Who does this apply to?  This increase applies to any “fast food employee” in a “chain fast food establishment.”  The definitions of each of those terms are included below, but to cut through the legalese, it generally applies to any food or drink establishment where patrons pay before eating that is part of a chain of 30 or more.  The Board released a list of fast food chains that will be subject to the wage hike, being careful to make clear that it may add more businesses to the list.  According to the list, at least the following business in Saratoga County would be affected (and again, this list is not exhaustive): Ben & Jerry’s, Boston Market, Brueggers, Burger King, Chipotle, Chuck E. Cheese, Cold Stone Creamery, Domino’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, KFC, McDonald’s, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Panera Bread, Pizza Hut, Shake Shack, Smashburger, Starbucks, Subway, Taco Bell, Uno Chicago Grill, and Wendy’s.  In addition, reported that according to a State Department of Labor spokesman, “a business owner with just one chain restaurant would have to pay the new wage.”  Finally, while the definition of “Fast Food Establishment” is quite broad and could itself be interpreted as including convenience stores that serve sandwiches, drinks, ice cream, etc., the lack of convenience stores on the Wage Board’s list suggests at least for now that they will not be included in the wage hike.  The list as published by the Wage Board can be found in the Appendix, available here:

What wages are required?  While the wage increases rise more sharply in New York City, the increases in New York State also rise quickly:

Here is the proposed schedule for wage increases in New York State:

December 31, 2015: $9.75/hour

December 31, 2016: $10.75/hour

December 31, 2017: $11.75/hour

December 31, 2018: $12.75/hour

December 31, 2019: $13.75/hour

December 31, 2020: $14.50/hour

July 1, 2021:             $15.00/hour

What can be done about it?  First, anyone may submit objections to the report by either e-mailing them to or mailing them to NYS Dept. of Labor Wage Board Objections, Building 12 Room 586, State Office Campus, Albany, NY 12240.  All objections must be received by August 15.  While this comment period is widely seen to be a formality, and that the Commissioner of Labor will approve the recommendations of the Wage Board, any interested business owner still should use this available avenue.  Second, a legal challenge is possible; various news outlets have reported that some franchise owners are considering legal claims to challenge the increase as arbitrarily applied to the fast-food industry, and that some have already engaged attorney and former deputy New York City mayor Randy Mastro to that end. 

So what happens next?  As stated above, the state Labor Commissioner will act on the recommendations shortly after the comments period closes.  Fast-food and drink establishments that are part of larger chains may want to consider mounting or joining a legal challenge to the increase—but short of that, they should prepare for the impending increases.

The information contained in this column is not intended to be a substitute for professional counseling or advice.  Mike represents employers in a variety of labor and employment related contexts from Bond, Schoeneck & King’s Albany office.  Mike lives in Saratoga Springs, serves on the board of the Saratoga Adult & Senior Center, and is a 2014 graduate of the Leadership Saratoga program.


“Fast Food Employee” shall mean any person employed or permitted to work at or for a Fast Food Establishment by any employer where such person’s job duties include at least one of the following: customer service, cooking, food or drink preparation, delivery, security, stocking supplies or equipment, cleaning, or routine maintenance.

“Fast Food Establishment” shall mean any establishment in the state of New York serving food or drink items: (a) where patrons order or select items and pay before eating and such items may be consumed on the premises, taken out, or delivered to the customer’s location; (b) which offers limited service; (c) which is part of a chain; and (d) which is one of thirty (30) or more establishments nationally, including: (i) an integrated enterprise which owns or operates thirty (30) or more such establishments in the aggregate nationally; or (ii) an establishment operated pursuant to a Franchise where the Franchisor and the Franchisee(s) of such Franchisor owns or operate thirty (30) or more such establishments in the aggregate nationally.

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