Letter from the President

From the President's Desk

The Rockland Business Association (RBA) was founded August 31, 1967, by a group of 40 local business leaders who wanted to assist the county in its growth as a business community and to aid in the development of its cultural and social programs.

The goals have been essentially unchanged since its formation. The need for the organization’s involvement, however, has intensified over the years as the county has grown from a parochial, semi-rural community into a critically important regional partner.

The RBA is viewed as one of New York’s most influential public policy and economic development organizations. As President/CEO of the RBA, I am privileged to serve on the Executive Committee of the Governor’s Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council and the Government Affairs Council of the Business Council of NYS. In May, 2022, I was invited by Governor Kathy Hochul and NYC Mayor Eric Adams, to become a panelist on the “New” New York Panel. This panel was convened to develop actionable strategies for the recovery of NYC and the surrounding region from issues created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The RBA has twice been recognized as a Best of Business Honoree by the Small Business Commerce Association; was NY’s 2001 Small Business Not-For-Profit of the Year; won a Regional Achievement Award in 2009 from Pattern for Progress and, in 2010, was named The Business Council’s First Platinum Level Chamber of the Year.

Among its many significant contributions to the local and regional communities are the issuance of the White Papers of 2012 and 2016. The first changed both the elected and staff leadership that led Rockland in the seven-year fiscal spiral that made it the most fiscally stressed county in NY.  The document also changed the course of action regarding the financially draining Summit Park Hospital and County Pharmacy. The second clearly identified why Rockland was the second highest taxed county in America and boldly presented the hard decisions necessary for the county to correct the situation. Today, Rockland has one of the strongest fiscal positions of all counties in the state.

The RBA twice led successful campaigns to defeat the Living Wage Movement’s attempts to impose its arbitrary wage rates on our businesses. The organization developed the strategy that led to the creation of Rockland’s Empire Zone Task Force and brought the issue of broadband infrastructure to the public forum which then led to the creation of a Rockland County Technology Leadership Council. The RBA also was instrumental in gaining favorable considerations for our business community relative to the imposition of the state’s current minimum wage laws.

The RBA was the leading advocate for the replacement of the old Tappan Zee Bridge, the prime motivator for the adoption of legislation for an Executive form of government, for the Airmont Interchange on the NYS Thruway and for the formation of Rockland’s Industrial Development Authority.

Through the RBA, businesses are able to work together achieving goals that could not be attained by working as single entities. We welcome your participation.

Al Samuels
RBA President/CEO

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