APRIL 1998

Proposed Title V fee increases, opposed by The Council, are rejected

The state Legislature has rejected a plan to increase air emission permit fees by as much as 60 percent - a move that was opposed by The Business Council.

Under the proposed Executive Budget, the cap on "Title V" permit fees would have increased from just under $28 per ton of regulated air emissions to $45 per ton. About 900 manufacturing sites and large combustion facilities are subject to the Title V permit program. Federal law requires that all program costs be financed through permit fees.

"DEC's Division of Air is doing a good job, and our members recognize the need for an effective permitting program," said Ken Pokalsky, The Council's environmental expert, "but this was simply an excessive increase in the cost of doing business in New York."

He said that over 20 facilities would have been hit with six-figure fee increases, and 35 facilities would have seen increases of $50,000 or more.

"We also had a number of concerns about specific spending items that would be financed through Title V fee income," Pokalsky said. "Some spending proposals seemed excessive, while others were inappropriately charged to the Title V fee account."

He noted that The Council questioned expenses related to a new data management system and argued that some costs related to small business assistance programs and to the development of state-enforceable permit conditions should be financed by the state's General Fund, not permit fees.

The Title V program account could end the new fiscal year with a $3 million deficit, so DEC may seek a more modest increase as a post-budget issue, he said.

"The DEC and the business community have a mutual interest in meeting the competing goals of having an adequately funded program and having reasonable Title V fees," he said.

April 16, 1998