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Government Affairs Albany Update

February 4, 2000

EXECUTIVE BUDGET'S 30-DAY AMENDMENTS ARRIVE

The 30-day amendments to the Executive Budget revenue bill (S.6295/A.9295) are in; the bill is now S.6295-A/A.9295-A. The amendments include:

  1. Repeal of 186 Gross Receipts Tax (currently 0.75%) as of 1/1/0;
  2. Taxation of energy utilities under Article 9-A as of 1/1/0;
  3. Repeal of 186-a Gross Receipts Tax on energy (currently 2.5%) per the following schedule:
    • 2.4% as of 1/1/0,
    • 2% as of 1/1/2,
    • 1.5% as of 1/1/3,
    • 0.7% as of 1/1/4,
    • 0 % as of 1/1/5;
  4. Repeal of 189 Gas Importation Privilege Tax (currently 4.25%) per the schedule for 186-a;
  5. Add a refundable credit against Article 9-A taxation for industrial and manufacturing businesses for any energy taxes paid under 186-a, 186-c, 189, and 189-a from 1/1/0 forward (186-c and 189-a are the MCTD surcharges on 186-a and 189, respectively);
  6. Accelerate the proposed rate cut for businesses with under $200,000 net income by one year; and
  7. Create a Sales and Use Tax exemption for emission testing equipment for heavy duty diesel vehicles.

FEDERAL ERGONOMICS RULES DELAYED

On Thursday, January 27, 2000, the U. S. Department of Labor announced that it will delay finalizing ergonomics rules aimed at reducing repetitive-motion injuries on the job.

The agency said it would postpone a Tuesday, February 1st deadline for submission of written comments on the proposed rules by a month, until March 2. The new worker protections would require employers to minimize everyday physical, or ergonomic, stresses of certain jobs that involve activities such as heavy lifting or computer keyboard work.

Congress has repeatedly passed legislation requiring more scientific studies on the subject. The Clinton administration was finally able to release the rules in November after the Senate adjourned for 1999 without acting on the latest hold passed in the House. Lawmakers and business groups immediately demanded extensions of up to six months for the public comment period, that by law must elapse before the rules can be finalized.

BUSINESS COUNCIL EXPRESS

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