It is critical state government supports New York’s small businesses. They make up the backbone of New York state by creating jobs and driving their respective local economies.

According to information from the Small Business Association in Forbes, small businesses generate 54 percent of all U.S. sales — a huge portion of all sales considering the stiff competition from large national chains and the internet.

Sadly, small businesses have not gotten anywhere near the help they need and deserve. Onerous regulations and an unfriendly tax climate make doing business in New York difficult. According to the Tax Foundation, New York has the ninth highest sales tax in the nation, and CNBC ranked New York 12th on its list of the worst states in which to conduct business; neither very uplifting. Year after year, New York continues to lead from behind despite its enormous natural and human resource potential.

This toxic climate drives away consumers and owners, only compounding New York’s economic woes. The Assembly minority, though, has fought hard for policies that will, instead, draw them back and retain them. We must make conducting business easier and more affordable in New York state. That starts with eliminating needless regulations and broadly overhauling New York’s sky-high taxes.

July, dedicated as Independent Retailer Month, celebrates and promotes independent retail businesses around the nation and state. The summertime offers a great opportunity to get out to New York’s many great Main Street businesses and #shoplocal while the weather is warm. Supporting small and independent businesses helps create strong communities, keeps tax dollars invested in our localities and provides much-needed job opportunities.

Every dollar invested in our local shops multiplies over time in our communities. And shopping local is a great way to support our hard-working friends and neighbors. This summer, when shopping for recreational needs like sports equipment or daily necessitates like back-to-school supplies and clothing, consider doing so at the many great local businesses in New York. The benefits are endless.

What do you think? I want to hear from you. Send me your feedback, suggestions and ideas regarding this or any other issue facing New York state. You can always contact my district office at 315-781-2030, email me at kolbb@nyassembly.gov, find me by searching for Assemblyman Brian Kolb on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.

Brian Kolb, R-Canandaigua, represents the 131st District in the Assembly. He is also minority leader.