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Addabbo, Ulrich spar over small biz ranking

State Sen. Joseph Addabbo (l.) defended himself against attacks on his small business record by his opponent for the 15th Senate District, City Councilman Eric Ulrich.
TimesLedger Newspapers

State Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) defended himself against attacks on his business record from his opponent, City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), last week, arguing that a small business scorecard Ulrich cited to malign Addabbo’s record was released by a right-wing lobbying firm and takes things out of context.

“People deserve substantive information and ideas, not partisan politics and attacks,” he said in a statement.

A press release issued by Ulrich’s campaign said the National Federation of Independent Businesses, identified by many as a leading lobbying group for small businesses, gave Addabbo a 50 percent score on his business record, among the lowest of ratings received by New York senators.

“Mr. Addabbo has one of the worst records on small business in the Senate,” Ulrich’s spokeswoman, Jessica Proud, said in a statement.

NFIB’s 2011-12 Legislative Voting Record was released Sept. 12 and it uses senators’ votes on seven bills to calculate their small business score on a scale of 100. Addabbo voted in favor of the NFIB’s position three times, against its stance three times and did not issue a vote for the seventh bill.

The bills in question include one that would keep the state Public Service Commission from imposing new regulations on phone services that use Voice over Internet Protocol technology, which Addabbo voted against, contrary to NFIB’s position; another that would enact a cap on property taxes, which Addabbo voted for, in favor of NFIB’s position; and another that enacted the Tier VI pension reform plan, a bill NFIB supported but for which Addabbo was absent during the vote.

“At a time when Queens families are struggling to find good-paying, sustainable jobs, Joe Addabbo is in Albany voting against their interests,” Proud said.

Addabbo discounted the scorecard, saying the NFIB is tilted far to the right: It gave 95 percent of its PAC funds to Republicans, opposes raising the minimum wage and is anti-union.

“I am disappointed my opponent used a partisan lobbying firm to attack me on such an important issue,” Addabbo said. “The plight of our small businesses is a serious matter, in need of being addressed as I have done in the district, not merely in campaign press releases.”

NFIB donated $51,440 to Republican candidates and zero funds to Democrats in the 2011-12 campaign cycle, according to the watchdog website Open Secrets.

Reach reporter Karen Frantz by e-mail at kfrantz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538

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