2000 LEGISLATIVE PROGRAMJanuary 7, 2000
Following is The Business Council's 2000 Legislative Program. It identifies legislative, regulatory, and administrative issues to be worked on by the Committees and Councils during the coming year.
- Business Law / General Counsel
- Contract Procurement
- Economic Development
- Education and Job Training
- Environmental Conservation
- Financial Services
- Labor & Human Resources
- Occupational Safety & Health
- Small Business
- State Administrative Procedures Act (SAPA)
- Unemployment Compensation
- Workers' Compensation
Since the mid-1990's tax cuts, employee-benefit reforms and an improved attitude toward business have helped New York generate an economic recovery. However, although New York is recovering, it is by no means fully recovered. The upstate economy in particular lags behind the rest of the state and the rest of the nation. More policy changes are needed to help New York narrow its growth gap compared to the rest of the country.
More tax cuts:
- Elimination of the gross receipts tax and reductions and reforms of other energy taxes.
- Reduction of the highway use tax.
- Reductions of telecommunications taxes.
- Changes to real property tax assessment policy.
- Debt reduction.
- Mandate relief, including repeal of wicks.
- Enactment of objective medical guidelines.
- Cap on permanent partial disability cases.
Workforce Preparedness and Skill Upgrading:
- Strict implementation of New York's tougher educational standards.
- Successful enactment of Jobs 2000, investing in employer specific worker training and investing in our higher education institutions.
Board Approved Tax Reduction Priorities
- Further reduction of the Gross Receipts Tax and the Petroleum Business Tax.
- Elimination of the increase in Article 9-A taxation occurring when jobs are located in New York-- through adoption of a “single sales factor” method for apportionment for both the regular tax and the minimum tax calculations.
- Reduction of the Highway Use Tax (ton mileage tax) by another 25% of its pre-1998 level and conversion of the remaining tax into a 50% increase in registration fees for trucks subject to the Highway Use Tax.
Corporate Article 9-A Tax
- Preservation of the ITC for transactions involving a stock acquisition of a company.
- Reduction of the Minimum Income Tax to 2%.
- If current apportionment method remains, then exclusion of Research and Development and Manufacturing wages from the payroll factor component.
- Ascription of receipts of the securities industry to the address of the customer.
- Elimination of the add back for indirect non-interest expense attribution related to subsidiary capital.
- Utilization of excess credits against other taxes; e.g., reduce up to 50% of sales & use tax liabilities.
- Calculation of the MCTD Surcharge on the actual tax rates of Articles 9 & 9-A.
- Creation of an export sales tax credit.
- Creation of a third class of stock, namely No Par Stated Value.
Corporate Article 9 Tax
- Elimination of Section 186-a gross receipts tax on energy services.
- Removal of all energy services from taxation under gross earnings (Section 186).
- Repeal of Section 189 (Gas Importation Privilege Tax).
- Reduction of petroleum/fuel use taxes.
Telecommunications Tax Reductions
- Reduction of Section 186-e Gross Receipts Tax on telecommunications services, with the corporate taxpayers eventually electing whether to transfer from Article 9 to Article 9-a net income taxation, or remaining within Article 9.
- Removal of all telecommunications services from taxation under the Gross Earnings Tax (Section 184).
- Continued expansion of the Sales and Use Tax exemption on telecommunications equipment.
Administrative and Miscellaneous Tax
- Equalization of the interest rate charged on assessments and refunds and the timing of interest in accordance with the Unicorp decision.
- Elimination of the automatic penalty provisions.
- Uncoupling of the State NOL from Federal NOL cap limit.
- Elimination of the MCTD Surcharge.
- Encouragement of the Administration and Legislature to seek a frame-work that would help alleviate the tax evasion problem with Native American tribes who sell gasoline, cigarettes, other goods, and services, tax-free to non-Native Americans.
- Reduction and conformance of the withholding rate on supplemental wages to highest effective Article 22 rate instead of the highest rate provided in withholding tables.
- Expansion of the definition of Investment Capital.
- Elimination of the use of special assessments on energy and telecommunications companies for funding state agencies and provision for funding through the General Fund.
- Provision for Electronic Funds Transfer and/or credit card payment of Article 9/9-A taxes.
- Consolidation of administrative proceedings concerning a business entity with those concerning the officers and employees of that entity.
- Reduction of the Alcoholic Beverage Tax twelve cents per liter on liquors with less than 24% alcohol and thirty cents per liter on liquors with greater than 24% alcohol.
- Reduction of the Alcoholic Beverage Tax on beer by twenty-four cents per gallon.
Real Property Tax
- Adoption of a Tax Appeals Division as the trial court for Article 7 certiorari proceedings.
- Establishment of escrow payments of Article 7 disputed tax liability.
- Permission for the calling of the assessor for testimony in an Article 7 certiorari proceeding.
- Increase of the appeal period from 30 to 60 or 90 days.
- Limitation of the discrimination between “homestead” and non-“homestead” rates to 25% and a five-year “grandfather” phase-out for jurisdictions currently exceeding 25%.
- Permission for large taxpayers to challenge New York State's Office of Real Property Services on their issuance of Equalization Rates.
- Establishment of a STAR program initiative for manufacturing or research & development facilities.
- Establishment of a CPI-indexed school district spending cap in conjunction with STAR program.
- Clarification that service laterals are not included in Section 102 real property.
Sales and Use Tax
- Exemption of industrial and commercial use of utilities.
- Exemption of any portion of integrated hazardous waste removal, treatment, disposition, transportation, or similar services.
- Exemption of utilities needed to maintain controlled manufacturing and research & development environments.
- Exemption of computers used for purposes beyond manufacturing & design.
- Exemption of equipment or machinery used to reduce or control pollution from manufacturing and industrial facilities.
- Exemption of the “installation, maintenance, or repair” services on research and development equipment.
- Netting the overpayment and underpayment of sales and use tax components.
- Extension of the exemption of taxes on clothing to $500.
- Exemption of broadcast equipment.
- Exemption of the purchases of materials and services to produce government required reports.
- Deletion of the mailing and vender purchase requirements in the application of the promotional exemption.
- Exemption of computer services sales.
- Exemption of the reconditioning of tools.
- Exemption of exhibits stored in business trade shows.
- Taxation of pre-paid calling cards at the point of sale, in lieu of the point of use.
- Creation of a use tax on electricity and gas.
- Support legislation to expedite the remediation of contaminated sites by responsible parties and/or volunteers. Establish remediation standards based on exposure risks and intended site use; adopt liability reforms including post-remediation releases for responsible parties and for “volunteers,” CERCLA defenses and exemptions, and liability exemptions for IDAs.
- Refinance the state “superfund” using General Fund resources.
- Oppose legislation that: fails to provide meaningful reform on cleanup standards or that imposes unreasonable cleanup standards; creates a statutory joint and several liability standards; imposes significant new taxes or fees on the private sector; establishes private sector-funded citizen participation grants; authorizes the DEC to issue unilateral cleanup orders and/or impose “treble damages,” establishes new causes of action for the recovery of costs or damages related to contaminated sites; or extends the state's “superfund” program to include additional sites in the absence of significant program reforms.
- Reduce state-imposed fees on services provided by environmental labs.
- Exempt wastes that can be managed under federal or state regulations as "universal wastes" from state special assessments on hazardous waste disposal.
- Eliminate the double taxation (through superfund special assessments) on hazardous wastewater that is treated on-site.
- Exempt environmental services - including pollution prevention equipment and solid and hazardous waste management and environmental remediation - from state and local sales tax.
- Authorize the waiving of civil penalties in instances where minor violations are quickly identified, reported and remediated.
- Adopt a limited privilege for voluntary environmental compliance audits.
- Oppose legislation to allow taxing units to recover "damages" in instances where real property tax assessments have been lowered due to environmental violations.
- Oppose "citizen suit" legislation.
- legislation requiring that the DEC provide an opportunity for an administrative hearing on alleged violations before it suspends the review of permit applications pending before the Department.
- Oppose legislation that would require public notice of, or allow for public or municipal input into, draft consent orders, or impose any other mandates on the consent order process.
- Support funding for DEC efforts to implemented a program for the "electronic" submission of regulatory data.
- Broaden the Department of Environmental Conservation's authority to issue general permits.
Small Business Assistance
- Provide a FOIL exemption for material submitted to the Environmental Facility Corporation's multimedia compliance assistance program
- Require agencies to adopt small business compliance guides related to new regulatory initiatives.
- Expand the state Industrial Effectiveness Program to include small business environmental compliance efforts
- Oppose legislation that would require environmental impact statements to assess and consider mitigation measures for "disproportionate" but not "adverse" impacts on minority and/or low income communities.
- Oppose new restrictions on the lawful use of pesticides, such as onerous pre-notification requirements, mandatory phase-out of pesticide use, and state-level bans on specific pesticide products.
- Oppose legislation authorizing municipalities to "take title" to solid wastes that are left for collection, as a means to circumvent the U.S. Supreme Court ruling invalidating flow control legislation.
- Oppose restrictions on facilities' participation in the federal SO2 allowance trading program.
- Oppose legislation that would impose restrictions on the use of specific chemicals or compounds in the manufacturing process, or impose content standards on products or packaging.
- Oppose mandated multimedia pollution prevention and toxic use reduction planning, and new material use accounting requirements.
- Continue to support (through policy or legislation) clear high standards for what students should know and be able to do when they graduate from high school. Note: The Board of Regents have called for all students to earn a Regents diploma and have re-defined graduation requirements. They are being phased in and will be in full effect for those entering ninth grade in the year 2001.
- Support the provision of additional state dollars for extra help, including summer school, other alternative instruction programs and services, and programs for students who are not yet proficient in English. Support measuring the efficacy of such programs in helping students who are having difficulty to reach the new standards.
- Support removal of the current limitation of 90 hours per student for the calculation of summer school attendance that is eligible for state aid.
- Support statewide testing of reading and math every grade from at least grades 3 through 8. (Teachers and principals need grade level student achievement information in order to improve instruction and provide appropriate supplementation in summer school.)
- Continue to support widespread dissemination of school report cards. Note: New York State ( as of January 1997) produces school report cards on every public school building in the state. These report cards are available from local school district offices, and also through the state education department web site: http://www.nysed.gov
- Support the use of sound scientific research methods to determine which curriculum and instructional practices are most likely to lead to improved student achievement.
- Support the continued development of a statewide school-to-work system that gives all students the knowledge and skills to be successful in employment or post-secondary education.
- Support providing schools with the flexibility necessary to give all students the opportunity to participate in the career exploration and work-based learning experiences that are linked to achievement of the state's learning standards.
- Support transportation aid for school districts transporting students to work sites for school related work experiences.
- Support changes in special education reimbursement methodology to remove any monetary incentive there may be with regard to the placement or labeling of students.
- Support the introduction of market disciplines into the education system through choice as provided by charter schools. Remove all legal, administrative and regulatory barriers to choice.
- Support the use of technology to improve instruction, to offer a wider range of courses through distance learning, and to streamline administrative and management functions.
- Support the elimination of mandates:
*that experience shows adversely affect the order, safety, and optimal functioning of schools;
*that add to the costs of school construction such as the Wicks law;
*that unnecessarily add to the cost of administering programs such as the Triborough provision.
- Support incentives for sharing services and for the consolidation of school districts while keeping the size of individual school under 500 students.
- Support increased management flexibility to ensure that schools have high quality teachers, principals and administrators through
*the reform of tenure, and repeal of the Triborough provision and any other such impediments to school improvement.
- Support the creation of an incentive and rewards system for teachers and schools when substantial increases in student achievement levels have been gained and/or are sustained.
- Support the development of a gainsharing program whereby school districts that save money can keep at least half of what they have saved to continue to improve their instructional programs.
- Support the provision of resources and incentives to those schools who opt for a longer school year or day in order to institute programs leading to greater student achievement.
- Support the provision of early childhood education programs to all children from low income families.
- Support substituting block grants for the current expense reimbursement system to allow for more flexibility and to eliminate incentives for unnecessary spending while increasing incentives for prudent spending. Schools would be accountable for results rather than for spending money in narrowly prescribed ways.
- Support measures that improve equity in the school aid formula. New York State currently spends more than $28 billion on education the third highest amount in the country, yet the wealth of school districts varies widely and there are many schools without even the most basic of educational tools.
- Support the maintenance of a high quality SUNY and CUNY system, including community colleges, through policies that include an equitable share of support from taxpayers, local sponsors, students and their parents.
- Support provisions that would base a portion of funding provided to the State and City University on results the number of degrees granted in a manner similar to the Bundy Aid program. Note: Most, though of course not all, students attend college to get a degree. Basing a portion of state aid to public colleges and universities on degrees granted would create an incentive for colleges to make sure they are providing the quality of programs that enable students to obtain a degree in the normal time frame.
- Support a mechanism which would allow colleges and businesses to charge the cost of basic skills remediation of recent high school graduates back to the student or employee's school districts. Far too many students who enter college or employment with high school diplomas yet are under-prepared in basic skills (reading, writing, and mathematics).
- Support restoration of Bundy Aid. Bundy Aid is aid to independent colleges and universities (which educate 56% of New York's higher education students) based on degrees granted.
- Support full and part-time tuition assistance to college students and graduate students including increasing the maximum TAP award to $5000. Note: When this program was started the maximum award equaled 60% of average private sector college tuition. Now it equals only 25%.
- Support the provision of scholarships based on merit in conjunction with need. No student with high academic achievements should be denied a higher education due to lack of income.
- Support linkages and networking among higher education institutions, business, and the community as a means of providing responsive programs and services, to student, businesses and communities.
- Support Centers for Advanced Technology and other initiatives that help colleges and universities can apply for state matching funds to leverage federal dollars for research programs leading to the creation of new processes and products in areas that enhance the state's economy.
- Support $50 million in funding for incumbent worker training through employer consortium training programs. Note: New York ranks 48th among states for investments in employer-specific job training programs. One of the most important site location factors for technology-based industries is the availability of a skilled or trainable workforce. Other states such as North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia have increased funding in this area, and it is paying off with new investments and new jobs.
- Support $10 million for community colleges to provide employer-specific training to individual employers on a contract course basis.
- Support GI Bill type training vouchers, based on income and circumstances, for individuals choosing short term non-degree training programs.
- Support allowing the EPE (Employment Preparation Program) aid to be utilized for adults that lack the basic skills needed to be successful in high performance workplaces even though they may have a high school diploma (including diplomas from other countries) through the year 2003, and/or until a New York State high school diploma means recipients have advanced reading, math and science skills.
- Support programs that provide teachers, guidance counselors and other educators with more information about businesses skill requirements and expectations.
- Support requiring the state to approve qualified unilateral apprentice programs even where the employer is a participant in a Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee.
- Support comprehensive civil justice reform, which would include: repeal joint and several liability, and establish an apportioned liability standard, for damage suits; establish a statute of repose (a time period after which a manufacturer cannot be sued for damages); establish a $250,000 cap on all non-economic damage awards; repeal strict liability for employers and property owners at construction work sites, and establish a negligence standard and allow damages to be apportioned based on the owners'/employers' degree of responsibility.
- Support comprehensive superfund reform/brownfield incentives legislation. This would include site use-based cleanup standards; liability exclusions for non-responsible parties that cleanup and redevelop contaminated sites, and for lenders and IDA's that are involved in financing site cleanups and/or redevelopment efforts; post-remediation liability releases for responsible parties; and targeted redevelopment incentives.
- Support legislation to increase the amount of electrical power available under the "Power for Jobs" program for the third year of the program from fifty megawatts to three hundred megawatts of power.
- Support an accelerated repeal of the gross receipts tax on electric utilities.
- Support greater accountability on any public subsidies to hospitals that are financed by the privately insured and by taxpayers.
- Support legislative and regulatory initiatives to make health insurance more affordable, including:
*Allowing employers the flexibility to purchase foundation health insurance which would be free of certain Insurance law mandates;
*Exploring ways to create a health insurance tax credit similar to the Earned Income Tax Credit.
- Oppose expanded health insurance mandates as being counter-productive to making coverage affordable to the private sector. Support legislation to provide cost-benefit analysis of proposed health insurance mandates.
- Support initiatives to make greater use of comparative data relating to quality and cost of the entire health care system, including information on inpatient, outpatient and individual providers.
- Support state and private efforts to identify and intervene in public health priorities and health outcomes research and information.
- Support medical liability tort reform, including a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages, while opposing attempts to shift an unfair portion of medical liability costs to the business community. Oppose expansion of liability to health plans and self-insured funds.
- Support amendments to the workers' compensation law which would limit the payment of benefits in non-scheduled partial impairment cases to a period no greater than 450 weeks.
- Support the implementation of reasonable, objective medical guidelines.
- Support limiting schedule awards to one-half the claimant's total disability rate for periods that do not represent actual lost time.
- Support partial reduction in claimant's benefit when the claimant begins to receive, or becomes eligible for, full Social Security benefits.
- Support amendments to Sections 21 & 47 of the workers' compensation law that require a preponderance of the evidence to support an award under this law.
- Support amendments to Sections 240 & 241 of the labor law to create a comparative negligence standard on third party suits.
- Support regulation or legislation which defines "independent contractors" in a fashion agreeable to the committee.
- Support prohibiting payment of workers' compensation benefits, similar to limits found in the disability law, if the employee's injury was sustained during the perpetration of an illegal act.
- Support prohibiting payment of workers' compensation benefits when the injury occurred while someone was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Actively promote changes to the state's legislative, regulatory and tax structures to reflect increased competition in New York's energy industry and promote increased economic development.
- Support legislation which would further reduce Article 9 gross receipts taxes (§186 and §186-a of the New York State Tax Law) on energy services, with the corporate taxpayer eventually electing whether to transfer from Article 9 to Article 9-A net income taxation with appropriate transition rules, or remaining within Article 9.
- Support legislation and administrative actions that would forestall unintended taxes on internal transfers of funds and assets between a subsidiary energy utility and its parent holding company resulting from the state's deregulation of the electric utility industry.
- Support legislation that would eliminate the Natural Gas Importation Privilege Tax (GIPT).
- Support legislation that would forestall an unintended state tax increase on energy that is sold for resale resulting from the state's deregulation of the energy industry. In a competitive market , energy commodities may change hands multiple times between companies before finally being delivered to the consumer or "end-user." If left in place, a tax will be imposed on each transaction increasing the cost of energy to New York consumers.
- Support legislation that would cut the GIPT commensurate with existing statutory reductions in the Gross Receipts Tax.
- Oppose administrative action that would end the exemption from state sales taxes on natural gas and electric transportation service
- Support legislation that would clarify existing law explicitly eliminating energy companies' service laterals from §102 of the Real Property Tax Law.
- Support legislation which eliminates the State's Petroleum Business Tax (PBT).
- Support the elimination of the PBT on petroleum products used for non-residential purposes manufacturing, electricity generation, and heating.
- Support the elimination of the PBT on motor fuels (gasoline and diesel).
- Support the elimination of the PBT on kerojet fuel. Support the elimination of the annual indexing of the PBT. Support legislation which unifies all petroleum related taxes on motor fuels into one single excise tax, collectable on a per gallon basis.
- Support the elimination of special assessments on energy companies for funding state agencies.
- Oppose legislation which imposes or increases local gross receipts taxes on utilities and their customers.
- Support legislation that would enforce the collection of taxes on motor fuel sales by Native American nations to non-native Americans.
Electricity and Natural Gas
- Oppose regulations or legislation that would reduce SO2 or NOX emissions from electric generating plants to levels that would result in increased energy costs for consumers. Any proposed emissions standards must not impose any adverse effects (cost or otherwise) on the business community, on other users of electricity, or on the economic development of the state including the retention and expansion of jobs.
- Support legislation which doubles the amount of electrical power available under the state's Power for Jobs program.
- Oppose legislation that would allow a municipal corporation to recover damages for their costs in responding to power outages and other emergencies.
- Support the Power Authority's efforts to utilize low-cost energy for job creation; job retention; and job and capital expansion purposes. These allocations should be utilized for the maximum economic benefit allowable under current laws.
- Support legislation to create a voluntary mechanism which reduces electric rates through credit-enhanced financing of certain assets of electric corporations. Resulting rate reductions should be spread throughout all classes of customers without unduly burdening any particular class.
- Support initiatives to develop the upgrade or installation of natural gas infrastructure for economic development purposes.
- Property taxes paid by New York's energy corporations are excessive when compared to parallel corporations in other states and other corporations within New York. Given the adverse impact of this disparity on New York's competitive position, we support appropriate legislation to ameliorate this unfair tax burden borne by energy corporations and their customers to achieve equity and parity with other state's in the country.
- Support legislation that would reimburse energy companies fully for the cost of relocating facilities in conjunction with federal, state and/or local government infrastructure project such as state Department of Transportation projects.
- Oppose legislation that would allow the state to restrict the trading of sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission allowances by utilities.
- Oppose legislation which imposes geographical limitations on the location of retail gasoline service stations.
- Oppose legislation that would require the divorcement / divestiture of retail gasoline stations operated by producers, refiners or distributors of petroleum products.
- Oppose legislation which regulates franchise agreements and mandates open supply for gasoline service stations.
- Oppose legislation and/or regulations which set state or local gasoline standards which vary from federal standards.
- Oppose legislation which would prohibit volume minimums in motor fuel franchise agreements.
- Oppose legislation that would permit lessee dealers of gasoline service stations to alter the service station property.
- Oppose legislation which would require the New York State Public Service Commission to review the compensation and benefits paid to certain officers, directors, and high level employees of the companies it regulates.
- Oppose legislation which further erodes the statutory protection afforded to the business records of corporations which are affiliates of public utility corporations.
- Support a statewide policy that is fuel neutral.
- Actively promote regulatory and tax reform to encourage increased investment and competition in New York's telecommunications and information technology industries.
- Support legislation which encourages increased investment in New York by modernizing the current sales and use tax exemption (§1115 (12) of the Tax Law) for telecommunications central office equipment to reflect current technology.
- Support legislation that would accelerate statutory reductions of Section 183 of the tax law which penalizes corporations that pay dividends on the par value of capital stock in the amount of six percent or more.
- Support legislation which would reform Article 9 taxation and reduce the tax burden on telecommunications customers.
- Property taxes paid by New York's telecommunications corporations are excessive when compared to parallel corporations in other states and other corporations within New York. Given the adverse impact of this disparity on New York's competitive position, we support appropriate legislation to ameliorate this unfair burden borne by telecommunications corporation and their customers to achieve equity and parity with other state's in the country.
- Support legislation which immediately removes all telecommunications services from taxation under gross earnings (§184 of the New York State Tax Law).
- Oppose legislation which imposes new special assessments on telecommunications companies and customers to fund social programs and state agencies.
- Support legislation that would set a uniform statewide process for municipal review of the siting and construction of wireless services facilities.
- Oppose legislation that would allow a municipal corporation to recover damages caused by acts of nature or similar unforeseen circumstances from telecommunications, wireless and cable companies.
- Oppose legislation that would restrict consumer access to "10-10" long distance services or require additional disclosure of such long distance rates by telecommunications and local exchange companies.
- Support legislation that would establish an effective and cost efficient statewide wireless emergency telecommunications system.
- Oppose legislation that would regulate service quality standards on telecommuncation firms.
- Oppose legislation which restricts economic growth in New York under the guise of "smart growth" and work with legislative sponsors of these measures in an effort to develop reasonable planning initiatives.
- Support $50 million in funding for incumbent worker training through employer consortium training programs.
- Support $10 million for community colleges to provide employer-specific training individual employers on a contract course basis.
- Oppose any government mandated employee benefits, including but not limited to expansion of mandatory health insurance coverage of specific services.
- Support the continued use of Unemployment Insurance funds for the funding of temporary jobless benefits. Oppose any diversion of these funds for other types of paid leave.
- Support the continued use of Disability Insurance for the funding of temporary disability benefits. Oppose any diversion of these benefits for other types of paid leave.
- Support legislation which allows development of managed care health programs which enhance quality of care at affordable costs through competitive markets.
- Support legislation which make it easier for business to offer options regarding dependent care programs.
- Support the doctrine of "employment at will" and oppose any attempt to undermine an employer's right to employ and terminate employment.
- Support an employer's ability to hire qualified individuals and oppose attempts to restrict an employer's use of validated pre-employment tests.
- Support legislation which protects an employer's ability to create a drug free workplace and create a minimum standard for drug testing, and support legislation that excludes current drug and alcohol abuse from protection under the Human Rights Law.
- Support legislation which would provide limited liability to employers who provide in good faith employment reference information.
- Oppose legislation which would expand the existing whistleblower protections contained in the law.
- Support legislation which facilitates employer actions to eliminate sexual harassment and discourage additional mandates and remedies under the Human Rights Law.
Oppose strict liability in hostile work environment cases;
Oppose punitive damages;
Oppose suppression of plaintiff's prior history in certain instances (consistent with federal guidelines).
- Oppose the use of a "union only" workforce in public projects and continue support of New York's competitive bidding laws.
- Oppose any attempts to limit an employer's right to operate during a labor dispute.
- Support the concept of "equal pay for equal work" and oppose the doctrine of comparable worth in both the public and private sectors.
- Support the establishment of a civil mediation process to serve as a first resolution effort prior to litigation. Oppose any limitations to employer or agency Alternative Dispute Resolution procedures.
- Support amendments to the Industrial Homework Law to clarify what types of jobs may be exempt from the law, and to give employers flexibility to allow workers the ability to work at their residence.
- Oppose legislation that mandates studies, policy development and training in workplace violence prevention.
- Support recommendations from the Governor's Independent Contractor Task Force.
- Contribute to the regulations applicable to the state Workforce Investment Act and encourage members to join local Workforce Investment Boards.
- Support regulations which establish standards for the operation and licensing of professional employer organizations.
- Support administrative reforms to the workers compensation program.
- Support regulations/guidelines which would allow employers options to establish dependent care programs.
- Oppose planned implementation of Insurance Information and Enforcement System (IIES) by DMV, requiring the collection for vehicle identification numbers (VIN) for commercial fleets of vehicles.
- Support legislation to expand insurers ability to access capital markets.
- Support voluntary market solutions to any perceived insurance market availability problems, including but not limited to coastal insurance issues.
- Support initiatives which enable companies to focus their resources on year 2000 readiness, restrict litigation and limit liability for year 2000 losses and protect year 2000 disclosure from use in litigation.
- Support Tort Reform proposals and other reforms to the civil justice system which would result in a fairer, more balanced system.
- Oppose proposals to assess interest penalties, court costs, attorney's fees, or punitive damages in connection with claim settlements.
- Oppose proposals that would require prejudgment interest in personal injury actions or that would provide for non-economic damages in wrongful death cases.
- Oppose any further prohibition, restrictions or penalty for the use of statistically valid risk indicators.
- Oppose broadening the application of the Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act, the Unfair Trade Practices Act, and Article 22-A of the General Business Law.
- Encourage managed care for all applicable lines while opposing legislation which impedes the growth of managed care including "any willing provider" and "unitary pricing" proposals.
- Support reasonable standards to promote insurance company solvency and oppose unreasonable restrictions and burdensome reporting requirements on investment powers of the insurance industry.
- Oppose unreasonable legislative or regulatory restrictions on the ability of insurers to re-insure some or all of any risk written.
- Oppose the use of fines and penalties for specific revenue purposes.
- Oppose any mandate that integrates health and medical insurance with auto medical and workers compensation insurance.
Health & Life
- Oppose efforts to broaden the standard of liability and increases in damages on health plans and providers.
- Oppose further expansion of mandatory and make-available health insurance coverage of specific benefits and services.
- Oppose experimental treatment proposals that do not have appropriate standards.
- Oppose universal health insurance measures which require employers to either provide health insurance or pay financial assessments.
- Oppose further expansion of the requirement to employ community rating/open enrollment beyond current law and support limited recognition of age in community rating.
Property & Casualty
- Support changing the assessment base for all Workers Compensation insurance funds, in order to offset impact of new Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB).
- Support legislation to exempt large commercial risks from rigid rate and form regulation.
- Oppose further regulatory or legislative expansion of flex-rating for those lines that are presently open rated.
- Oppose legislative and regulatory expansion of dual authority between the Insurance Department and the Department of Motor Vehicles.
- Oppose mandated residual market mechanisms to lead liability problems in order to encourage legislation promoting a lead safe environment.
- Support voluntary market solutions for coastal homeowners insurance availability concerns.
- Support passage of legislation that would revise and update Uniform Commercial Code Articles 3 & 4 in accordance with recommendations made by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL) and the American Law Institute (ALI) in 1990. Such changes would properly reflect technological changes and modernizations of the financial services and banking industries. New York now remains one of only two state's that have not enacted such revisions to Articles 3 & 4.
- Support prompt legislative approval of other modernizations to the Uniform Commercial Code as recommended by the NCCUSL and the ALI.
- Support the adoption of reasonable standards to the AT M Safety Act (Art. 2-A of the Banking Law) allowing institutions adequate time to correct lighting deficiencies without being subject to undue fines despite acting in good faith.
- Support the preservation of Investment Tax Credits for transactions involving a stock acquisition of a company.
- Support legislation requiring that notification be provided to any person or lienholder having a perfected security interest in a vehicle having been towed and stored on a garage owners' lot. Such notification would allow the lienholder to take action and avoid exorbitant storage fees associated with reclaiming the vehicle.
- Support the elimination of lender liability for clean-up costs associated with environmentally hazardous conditions beyond their control.
- Oppose legislation further restricting the telemarketing of financial services and products by regulated financial entities.
- Oppose legislation that expands appraisal requirements.
- Support the elimination of the mortgage transfer tax on foreclosure.
- Support legislation which gives employers greater choice, portability and flexibility in offering health insurance to employees and oppose any employer mandated coverage.
- Support initiatives which clearly defines the term "Independent Contractor".
- Support comprehensive legislation reforming New York State's costly civil justice system.
- Amend the Workers' Compensation Law to limit the payment of benefits in permanent partial disability cases to a period not to exceed seven years, and implement reasonable objective medical guidelines for the determination of disability awards.
- Support continued relief relative to energy in New York State for Small Businesses.
- Support an impartial and independent administrative hearing process for adversarial hearings before state agencies.
- Support electronic commerce, but oppose any mandates on all businesses.
- Support legislation which extends the initial lien duration from 12 month to 18 months.
- Support elimination of New York State's truck mileage tax provided that the amount of dedicated highway funding be maintained at or above current levels to allow for continued transportation infrastructure projects.
- Support legislation to continue existing levels of Dedicated Highway Trust Fund. In this regard, dedicated highway user fees must be used only for the purpose of improving the state's road and bridges and should be held accountable to the public. As New York's current transportation infrastructure funding plan is set to expire in the year 2000, the state must adopt a forward-looking five year plan that will sufficiently address needed repairs to its roads and bridges.
- Support funding parity between road and bridges and mass transit.
- Support a capital funding program for railway infrastructure projects and port development.
- Support legislation that would eliminate the Petroleum Business Tax (PBT).
- Support a revision of the methodology calculating real property tax assessments on New York State railway companies to unitary valuation.
- Support regulations which would adopt reasonable and attainable Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) standards.
- Support the position that federal requirements sufficiently provide for the safe transportation of hazardous materials.
The Contract Procurement Committee will support policy, legislation and regulation which will ensure economic growth and stability within New York State through open, and equal competition to all interested parties.
Contracting Out (Privatization)/Competitive Bidding / Preferential Bidding
- Support legislation which would decrease the incidence of government agencies, authorities, and prison industries competing with the private sector. In specific we would oppose the growing trend of those entities to obtain goods, services, or construction with public dollars.
- Support legislation which would establish an objective review process which determines whether a good, service or public work project should be contracted out or provided by the public entity, including mandated and preferred source goods and services.
- Support legislation, regulation and administrative action which would strengthen the current competitive bidding laws at the state and local levels; in specific, objective determinations on "best value" service and technology contracts.
- Support legislation which would create consistent enforcement of municipal contracts, similar to the manner in which state contracts are enforced.
- Support legislation, regulation or administrative action which would institute an electronic transfer of both contract documents, and of funds for payment, wherever feasible.
- Oppose legislation which creates a preference of one class of bidder over another.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
- Support legislation which would establish an independent contract dispute resolution mechanism which would render decisions in an objective and expedient manner.
(Legislation should also require that a written explanation of award to both winner and loser be submitted prior to contract or period before awarded. Allow unsuccessful bidders to be debriefed, confidentially, as to why their bid was unsuccessful. This allows a continual learning process for both contracting agency and bidder.)
Speedy Award Process (Service and Commodity Contracts)
- Support legislation which would create a timely process for the award of a contract using specified deadlines.
- Oppose legislation which would create a "vendor responsibility" file and/or establish a pre-qualified bidder's list for commodity and service contracts.
- Support Qualification Based selection for design professional services for all state and local public works projects.
- Support "Hold Harmless" legislation which would allow contracts to be paid during budget delays.
- Support legislation to allow review of competitors proposals after notice of intent to award has been received, but prior to formal contract agreement.
- Oppose legislation that would place restrictions on the use of, or set state-level equipment standards for, VDT's in the workplace.
- Maintain a Task Force to work with the New York State Department of Labor to make the mandatory safety program as fair and sensible as possible.
- Strongly oppose any effort by the state to develop and implement its own state OSHA plan.
- Continue to monitor and provide input into any legislative proposals regulating Indoor Air Quality in New York State.
- Oppose legislation that would impose state-level regulations in areas pre-empted by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act. For example, oppose legislation that would mandate that employers provide medical monitoring services for all employees within broad occupational categories. Support legislation that would make explicit the Federal pre-emption of the state's "right-to-know" law with regard to private sector employers.
- Propose and support amendments to the state's asbestos abatement law to make it more risk-based by exempting from regulation those activities and materials which do not pose a threat of human exposure.
- Continue to monitor activities of the New York state Occupational Health Clinics Network and to promote business participation on local OHCN advisory committees.
- Support comprehensive civil justice reform.
- Support restructuring the unified court system.
- Support efforts to streamline corporate filings with the Department of State.
- Oppose awarding pre-judgment interest in personal injury actions.
- Oppose awarding damages for emotional loss and mental anguish in wrongful death actions.
"When New York Builds, New York Grows"
The New York State Construction Industry Council (NYSCIC) supports initiatives which increase private and public sector construction and construction related markets. They must increase economic viability . . . jobs . . . and enhance the overall business environment.
The construction industry plays a vital role in the economic stability of New York State. In specific:
- Construction industry directly employs roughly 300,000 people (nearly 5% of the private sector work force).
- One million dollars worth of construction creates 23 jobs.
- Each dollar spent on construction creates $2.35 in economic activity.
The Council has recognized the following items as their 2000 priorities:
Safety and Liability
Create a fair and equitable civil justice system by:
- Supporting amendments to Sections 240 and 241 of the Labor Law to clarify the responsibilities and liabilities of owners, contractors and others in the construction process.
- Creation of a statute of repose for engineers, architects and contractors.
Also, support legislation and regulation which would:
- Promulgate comprehensive written rules and regulations implementing the Voluntary Safety Program (established through the 1996 Workers' Comp Reform Act) which would increase workplace safety by allowing employers with premiums greater than $5,000/year and safety mods below 1.3 who voluntarily establish certified safety and loss prevention programs to be eligible to receive a 5 percent premium credit for up to two years.
- Support legislation which would allow all industries (including construction) to be eligible for the Safety Premium Credit program. This program allows companies to take 5 percent of their investment in new technologies and apply it as a credit against workers' comp premiums up to 15 percent of their total premium for three years.
- Support legislation which would allow safety groups insured through the State Insurance Fund to be eligible for safety incentive credits.
Workforce Development and Apprenticeship Training Programs
Encourage public and public/private endeavors to meet the employment demands of the industry by preparing our future workforce through workforce development programs. This would include:
- Establishing fair and equitable state support of pre-apprentice and trainee programs.
- Requiring the state approve qualified unilateral apprentice programs even where the employer is a participant in a Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee.
- Encourage grant programs administered by private sector grantees.
- Encourage the use of prudent bonding for "hard dollar" construction. Such bonding should be financed with specific revenue sources not impacting the State's general fund obligations.
- Ensure that sufficient capital dollars are invested to maintain a safe, environmentally sound infrastructure, conducive to economic development.
Regulatory and Administrative
- The promulgation of comprehensive rules and regulations implementing the premium payroll cap that was established by legislation in 1998. Also, produce a compliance manual for affected employers.
- Require the Department of Labor to promulgate reasonable and equitable comprehensive written rules, regulations, and definitions for Section 220 of the Labor Law.
- Encourage better definition of sales tax exemptions and when are they applicable. Also, production of a "how to comply" manual for employers.
- Support the promulgation of comprehensive written rules, regulations, definitions for what an "Independent Contractor" is.
- Support legislation which would cap the length of time an injured worker can collect permanent partial disability benefits.
- Support prohibiting of workers' compensation benefits if an employee is intoxicated from alcohol and/or an illegal substance, or is in the act of committing a crime at the time of injury.
- Support the adoption of objective medical guidelines.
Payment and Award
- Support legislation which would require public owners to pay contractors for delay damages upon documentation that public owners' action led to damages.
- Ensure that payments due contractors by public owners be expedited regardless of untimely budgets and insist that budgetary appropriations be regarded as promissory. If need be, pursue a legislative fix to the problem to ensure that contractors are paid for their work.
- Enhance the process by which payments are made upon the completion of public works projects. Encouragement of "quick payment" to contractors through technological advances, i.e. electronic transfer of funds.
- Insist that the contract processes be expedited upon award.
Competitive Bidding/Government Competition /Preferential Bidding
- Oppose the expanded use of state and municipal agencies' staff in the construction management profession, and in their associated construction trades.
- Maintain, if not strengthen, the competitive bidding laws by ensuring that procurement policy not be adversely affected.
- Oppose legislation which would increase the incidence of unfair competition.
- Oppose legislation which would create preference through: domicile requirements, preferred bid lists, licensure requirements, percentage of lowest bid, or any other mechanism which allows preferential treatment of one class of bidder over another on public works contracts.
- Oppose public entities attempting to circumvent the competitive bidding process through the use of "contracting in" and "force account" within the construction industry.
- Ensure that the continued and expanded use of emergency contracts does not circumvent the competitive bidding process.
- Support limiting the use of inmates or other taxpayer funded entities on public works projects, other than for minor maintenance work.
- Support the selection of private sector architects and engineers on all public works projects based on Section 136-a of the State Finance law.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
- Support legislation which would result in an alternative dispute resolution process between contractors and public owners that is fair, independent and timely.
- Support legislation which would create economic opportunity for minority, women, (M/WBEs) and small business enterprises (SBEs). Specifically we:
- S>upport capital project appropriations which would establish mentoring, training, and/or revolving loan programs to allow equal access to the construction, and related trades, of minority, women, and small business entrepreneurs.
- Support businesslike efforts which encourage increased opportunities for participation of available and competitive minority, women, and small owned business enterprises in the construction industry.
- Encourage uniform statewide implementation of Article 15-A, which promotes use of minority and women-owned business enterprises on public contracts.
- Support legislation which would permit mechanic's liens to be filed against the real property when private improvements are situated on publicly owned property.
- Oppose legislation which would require "wrap-up" insurance on public works projects.
- Oppose onerous mandates or unnecessary licensing requirements for those involved in lead abatement.
- Use of the principles of experience rating, necessity, lowest cost to the economy, and contemporary timing in the design of any revised funding of the UC Trust Fund.
- Creation of separate General Accounts for taxable employers, reimbursable government employers, and reimbursable private employers.
- Increase of the requalification standards from five times a claimant's benefit level to ten times.
- Variable durationof benefits to reflect better a claimant's attachment to the workforce.
- Strengthening the seeking work requirement for continued benefit check eligibility.
- Facilitation of communication of work interruptions to chargeable employers.
- Weekly communication of benefit charge notices to employers.
- Support the position that all necessary labeling and packaging requirements for food, drug and products be done at the federal level.
- Support the position that all necessary warranty requirements be imposed at the federal level to ensure nationwide consistency.
- To ensure nationwide consistency, oppose legislation which amends New York State's Fair Credit Reporting Act beyond the standards established by the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act.
- Oppose legislation which restricts the release or sale of names on consumer lists.
- Oppose legislation that allows free speech and petition in certain areas of private shopping malls.
- Oppose legislation that would impose additional government mandated restrictions on the terms of franchise agreements.
- Support legislation that requires agencies to provide the regulated community with flexibility in meeting regulatory requirements, through the use of performance standards and variance procedures.
- Support legislation that require agencies to consider the relative costs and benefits of regulatory options when proposing new or modified rules.
- Support legislation to require agencies to respond to public petitions to repeal or modify regulations that are outdated, inconsistent with federal requirements, not authorized in statute, or are not cost-effective.
- Support legislation that gives the Governor's Office of Regulatory Reform authority to assure agencies compliance with SAPA, and to review proposed regulations as to their reasonableness (based on the criteria of net benefits, cost to benefit ratio and overall costs of regulatory, discussed above) and consistency with the general policies of the state.
- Support legislation that would allow for extensions to the standard one-year rule adoption timetable in order allow agencies the opportunity to consider and respond to public comments.
- Support legislation that broadens the current "arbitrary and capricious" judicial review standard under Article 78 to allow for consideration of compliance with SAPA's impact analysis requirements, and consideration of whether a rule was based on sound data.
- Oppose legislation that would impose rigid procedures on the use of "negotiated rulemaking" efforts by agencies.
- Advocate legislation or regulations which will foster the growth of the Internet and E-commerce including, but not limited to, issues involving:
Privacy, use of information technologies, tax policy, amendments to the State Technology Law, proposed adoption of the Uniform Commercial Code 2B provisions as well as the National Uniform Electronic Transaction Act.
- Support debt reform which reduces the historically-high level of debt financed by New York State taxpayers.