Energy Newsletter -April 28, 2000

Budget Package Taking Shape

The Legislature adjourned for its scheduled break on Thursday April, 20th without voting on New York's $78 billion plus budget package. All of the Legislative budget sub-committees (except one) reported back to the General Budget conference committee prior to the break. Energy taxes and "Power for Jobs" were not handled by any of the Legislative sub-committees. However, the topic did receive the attention of the leadership and Governor prior to the break.

While information is sketchy on the topics, it appears that the reduction of New York's Gross Receipts Tax will amount to $330 million. The plan that has attracted the most attention and may be headed for the budget document is the elimination of 186 retro to 1/1/00 with a corresponding shift to article 9-A taxation for utilities. This cut represent .75% of the GRT. A five year phase down of the GRT (186-a) with an immediate repeal retro to 1/1/00 for industry and manufacturing is also likely.

It is also reported that the "Power for Jobs" program has been allotted $250 million in the budget. The Legislature is scheduled to return on Monday, May 1st at which time they will resume budget negotiations.

Business Council's GRT E-Advocacy Update

The Business Council's efforts to have the Gross Receipts Tax eliminated as part of the State's 2000 budget has included an e-advocacy effort. This effort has resulted in over 23,964 letters being written by 1,315 participants (companies, chambers of commerce, associations and individuals). The letters urge the Governor, Legislative Leaders, and key staff persons in state government to repeal the State's 3.25 percent tax on electricity and natural gas.

Public Service Commission (PSC)

The New York State Public Service Commission met in Albany on Tuesday, April 18th.

A number of topics were discussed by the commission that effect the energy industry. They are as follows:

The Commission is initiating a review of the electric utilities efforts to serve special needs customers

PSC approved Niagara Mohawk's sale of the Albany Steam Station to Public Service Enterprise Group, Inc.

The Department of Public Service will also hold several meetings regarding the siting of new generating plants in downstate New York

The next PSC meeting will be held in Albany on May 17th at 10AM. The meeting will be held in hearing room A on Swan Street.