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Government Affairs Albany Update

January 21, 2000

GOVERNOR SIGNS NEW STATE MINIMUM WAGE

On Wednesday, December 29, 1999, Governor Pataki increased the minimum wage for most workers in New York State to $5.15 per hour, the current federal minimum wage. The bill does not apply to some restaurant workers. The pay increase is effective March 31. Another provision of the new law automatically links the state minimum wage to the federal minimum wage. This means that in the future if the federal minimum wage is increased, the state minimum wage will also rise accordingly. This is a very significant change in New York because, in the past, each and every individual minimum wage increase had to be proposed, discussed and voted by all members of the New York State Senate and Assembly. Now that there is a link to the federal minimum wage, there will be no more discussion or debate nor will the state legislators have to take a formal voting position on future state minimum wage increases. If you have any questions regarding this issue, please contact Tom Minnick (ext. 210).

"SUPERFUND" AMENDMENTS INCLUDED IN BUDGET

Governor Pataki has incorporated last year's superfund/brownfield program bill into the Executive Budget proposal for Fiscal 2000-2001. The proposed budget bill (S.6292 / A.9292) includes the programmatic changes proposed by the Governor last year — many of which are of concern to The Business Council — as well as significant new industry fees that would help finance future state remediation projects. Overall, the Governor's proposal would produce about $140 million annually for state-financed cleanups, with funding to come from both general fund and special revenue funds source, beginning in Fiscal 2001-02. Nearly $40 million in additional fees would be imposed on hazardous waste generators, which are largely in the manufacturing sector.