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Government Affairs Albany Update

February 18, 2000


On February 16th Assembly Speaker Silver introduced legislation that would expand the Power For Jobs program by adding another three year term for each of the 330 contracts awarded under the initial allocation. Those contracts are scheduled to expire in March 2001. The goal of the legislation is to extend the low-cost power allocations to those who were granted contracts in the first year of the program. In January, Governor George Pataki also addressed the Power For Jobs program by proposing to add 200 new megawatts to the program for upstate New York businesses. Senator James Wright, the Chair of the Senate Energy Committee, has also proposed an expansion of the program. Wright's bill (S.6165) increases from 50 megawatts to 300 megawatts the amount of electrical power available for the third year of the program. The Power For Jobs program, which was established in 1997, provides low-cost electricity to businesses and not-for-profits that agree to retain or create jobs in New York State. Also of note is the latest round of allocations under the Power for Jobs program. The Economic Development Power Allocation Board (EDPAB) met this week to award over 20,300kw of the remaining 50,000kw for the final year of the program.


The Public Policy Institute has released a new briefing paper titled "The Hidden Tax in New York's Energy Bills". The briefing paper says that reducing energy taxes — starting with the gross receipts tax — will pay off in new growth, particularly for the Upstate economy.


This week, S.1453-a (Spano), a bill which would expand whistleblower protections for employees, was reported out of the Senate Labor Committee. The original bill would have increased protections only for employees in the healthcare industry but its scope was widened to include all employers in June 1999.


In his address opening the 2000 session of the Connecticut General Assembly, Governor John G. Rowland delivered his budget and tax proposals for the fiscal year beginning July 1. The most significant new proposal is the adoption of a 100% sales factor in the apportionment formula for manufacturers in Connecticut's Corporate Income Tax — paralleling The Business Council's #1 job incentive measure for New York's corporate income tax (Article 9-A): adoption of a 100% sales factor apportionment formula. It was noted that manufacturing represents a significant portion of Connecticut's economy and is the source of many well-paying, highly skilled jobs; and that adoption of 100% sales factor apportionment would remove a current disincentive (that is, an apportionment formula based only 50% on sales and 50% on jobs and facilities) to invest in people and plants in Connecticut. The proposal is expected to be in law by May 3 when this year's session ends and also includes adoption of 100% sales factor apportionment for the broadcasting sector with a one-year later effective date. The Governor's action comes on the heels of a Study Commission Report requested by House Speaker Moira K. Lyons which found: "By providing such relief, manufacturers with investments in employees and property in Connecticut will be better able to compete in their respective industries. Such factor relief will provide not only a response to initiatives that have already been taken in other states, but it will also provide significant incentives for manufacturers that already have a presence in Connecticut to retain and expand their operations in Connecticut, and for other manufacturers to locate their operations in Connecticut."