“New York Smart Growth Coalition” Launches With Statewide Membership. Business Owners, Alongside Bill Sponsors, Call On Legislature To Pass Law Allowing Undocumented New Yorkers Access To Driver’s Licenses.

ALBANY – Business owners and community stakeholders from across New York today announced the launch of the New York Smart Growth Coalition, urging state lawmakers to immediately pass the Driver’s License Access and Privacy Act (Green Light NY) to support New York’s businesses and create economic opportunities for hundreds of thousands of undocumented New Yorkers, benefitting the entire state. This bill would allow an estimated 265,000 New Yorkers to apply for licenses and would support billions in annual economic contributions by undocumented New Yorkers.

“This coalition is proof that the Green Light NY bill serves the best interests of every New Yorker, creating dramatically expanded economic opportunity for thousands of families and lifting up businesses across the state,” said Eddie A. Taveras, New York State Immigration Manager for FWD.us. “By enabling hardworking, taxpaying New Yorkers in every community to take driver’s education courses and apply to take a road test and become licensed drivers, we will make it possible for workers to seek higher education and better-paying jobs while generating $57 million in new state revenue every year.”

“We are supporting this bill because it sends a signal to Washington that comprehensive immigration reform is a necessary business issue, and because it’s the right and decent thing to do,” said Heather C. Briccetti, President and CEO of The Business Council of New York State. “It is an opportunity to support billions in annual economic activity, and state and local tax collections, driven by hardworking undocumented families around the state. This bill is also an opportunity to increase these New Yorker’s ability to support local employers and businesses.”

“This is a rare chance to pass a law that’s a win-win for all New Yorkers, and that will demonstrably improve not only the quality of life of hundreds of thousands of our hardworking neighbors, but also support significant economic growth in every corner of the state,” said Joe Appelbaum, President of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association. “It’s in the best interests of our state to connect every resident to their local economy, and this bill will help us accomplish that goal while simultaneously lifting up thousands of small businesses and keeping our communities safe.”

“For the millions of New Yorkers living outside the five boroughs, public transit can be difficult to access – if not completely nonexistent – and driving is a fundamental necessity for fulfilling everyday needs like getting to work, taking kids to school or even just buying groceries,” said Yokasta Arriaza, Golden Pine Lawn & Garden. “It’s time for our lawmakers to pass this bill and help more than 265,000 people across the state finally achieve full economic mobility and engage fully with their local communities.”

The New York Smart Growth Coalition features a broad membership from across the state. For additional information on the coalition and its membership, visit www.nysmartgrowthcoalition.com.

The Green Light NY bill would reinstate a previously held state policy which allows undocumented residents – who contribute roughly $40 billion per year to New York’s economic output, according to the Fiscal Policy Institute ­– to be issued a license after completing an educational course and passing a road test like any other New York driver.

New York would join 12 other states that have passed similar measures, along with Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. In the first three years after the bill is passed, an estimated 97,000 new cars would be purchased, and the state stands to gain an extra $57 million in annual revenue from licensing and registration fees.

Across the country, the passage of similar measures has led to demonstrable improvements in road safety. In New Mexico, fatal traffic accidents declined by 43 percent, and in California, hit and runs fell sharply, with drivers saving an estimated $3.5 million in annual out-of-pocket damage costs.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has committed to bringing the bill to a vote before the end of the Legislative Session in June, and the bill has been widely endorsed by business leaders, law enforcement – including sheriffs and district attorneys from both New York City and Upstate communities – and faith leaders alike.

The New York Smart Growth Coalition is an alliance of businesses committed to improving the economic security and safety of New York and its residents by allowing eligible New Yorkers to apply for a state driver’s license, regardless of immigration status. It’s not just good state policy — it’s good business.