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Legislative Memo

Darren Suarez
Director of Government Affairs
T 518.465.7511
www.bcnys.org

BILL:

A.9055-C (Budget)

Support

SUBJECT:

Sweep of $200M

 

DATE:

March 19, 2012

 

The Business Council of the State of New York is opposed to A.9055-C §14-a of Part N, a proposed budget transfer of up to $200 million in NYSERDA reserves for deposit into the General Fund.  The Business Council is significantly concerned that the proposed $200 million dollar sweep will amount to a new $200 million dollar tax on ratepayers. 

The Public Service Commission (PSC) has established a number of assessments to obtain significant energy and environment goals including the 45 x 15 clean-energy strategies (i.e., adoption of the 15 x 15 energy-efficiency goal and the 30 x 15 renewable-energy goal) and Executive Order 24 of the 80 x 50 greenhouse gas reduction goal. The PSC has committed the State to many ambitious goals. To obtain the state’s environmental and an energy goal has required the collection of surcharges from New York State ratepayers.  If the $200 million dollar is transferred from NYSERDA, the State’s goals will not be reduced to reflect a reduction in available resources.  To obtain the State’s goals ratepayers will likely be requested to pay an additional $200 million dollar to cover the shortfall.

The advance of this transfer would be similar to the 2009 increases of 18-a Utility assessment.  In 2009 Governor Paterson advanced a Service Conservation Assessment on utility companies.  The tax was packages as means to encourage conservation, but in truth the funds were used to increase State spending.  The increased assessment was a thinly disguised tax.

New York’s utility rates are affected by a high tax burden.  A 2010 report from the Public Policy Institute shows that state and local taxes and assessments on electric power alone impose a $6.4 billion burden on the state’s economy. The study found that that “fully 26.68 percent of New Yorkers’ electric bills support state and local taxes and fees. This equates to an average of $614.48 that each household (single family homes, apartments, coops and condos) in New York pays in these taxes through their power bill

In the interest of electric and gas customers, The Business Council of the State of New York opposes the proposed budget transfer of up to $200 million in NYSERDA reserves for deposit into the General Fund.