As the newly minted Chairman of the HIA-LI Board of Directors, Joe Campolo moderated a distinguished panel at the Annual Meeting & Legislative Breakfast on January 19, 2018 at the Hamlet in Commack. Campolo debated the 2018 economic forecast and policy with panelists New York State Senator Tom Croci, New York State Assemblyman Mike Fitzpatrick, Deputy Suffolk County Executive Jon Kaiman, Suffolk County Legislator Tom Cilmi, Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim, and Kulka LLC President Jack Kulka at an event that drew over 300 Long Island business leaders.

After opening the meeting with a focus on the need for transparency in government, Campolo shifted to the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and Governor Cuomo’s efforts to blunt the impact anticipated in high tax states such as New York. Targeting the governor’s proposed payroll tax, he pressed the elected officials at the state level as to whether they are enabling the governor to take money from the pockets of business owners. The conversation then turned to more local issues as Campolo and county elected officials debated pension spending, Suffolk County’s fiscal condition, the rise in healthcare jobs, and projects to expand the sewer system.

Despite the disagreements that Campolo’s tough questioning revealed, the morning ended on a high note for the local business community. Immediately following the breakfast, HIA-LI President Terri Alessi-Miceli, Assemblyman Fitzpatrick, Supervisor Wehrheim, and LIBI President and HIA-LI Board member Mitch Pally joined Campolo at a press conference announcing an important new partnership among HIA-LI, the Regional Plan Association, and the Suffolk County IDA. As part of the partnership, the RPA will undertake an economic study of the Hauppauge Industrial Park—a major economic engine for Long Island—that will focus on identifying opportunities for the park and attracting and retaining employees. The study follows an economic impact study completed by Stony Brook University, which revealed that HIP businesses generate more than $870 million per year in revenue and property taxes and employ more than 55,000 people.

Campolo explained that “we want to keep our young people on Long Island and make it more affordable for them,” as Alessi-Miceli emphasized that the HIA-LI and its member companies “are primed for growth.”