Government Affairs Albany UpdateJanuary 25, 2002
- Regulatory Review Law Takes Effect
- Governor Pataki Proposes Executive Budget
- Fiscal Year 2003 Executive Budget Released
- Article X Project Update
- Proposed Fee Increases
Regulatory Review Law
Staff Contact: Ken
State regulatory agencies in New York are now required to conduct five-year reviews of each rule they have adopted since January 1, 1997. This review requirement is based on 1996 amendments to the State Administrative Procedures Act (see SAPA section 207).
Starting January 1, 2002, agencies will have to publish an annual list of regulations subject to this review requirement. This listing – published in the State Register as part of an agency's regulatory agenda – must include a discussion of the legal basis of, and the need for, each rule subject to the review requirement. Agencies are also required to provide an opportunity for public comment on the continuation or modification of such rules.
If an agency decides to move forward with regulatory amendments based on this review process, they are required to justify the proposed modification and summarize public comments received in response to their request for input, in addition to meeting general SAPA procedural requirements. If an agency determines that a rule should continue without modification, it is required to publish a notice to that effect that provides a justification for their decision, along with an assessment of public comment.
A number of agencies of importance to Business Council members have already filed their five-year review notices, including Agriculture and Markets, Education, Environmental Conservation, Health, Labor, Public Service, State and Tax and Finance. The Business Council is developing a summary of key regulations that are subject to the review requirement, and will make it available to GAC members once completed.
Unfortunately, the contents of the State Register are not yet available on-line. If you would like a hard copy of the State Register notices for any of the agencies listed above, or for any additional information regarding this program, please contact Ken Pokalsky.
On the home page of our web site, you'll find a general overview of the Governor's proposed Executive Budget for 2002-03. Included are links to the Governor's web site if you are interested in the Governor's press release. Also, there is a link to the State Division of the Budget where you can download many of the documents that make up the Executive Budget.
Fiscal hearings will begin Monday, January 28 at 10:30 a.m. in Hearing Room B at the LOB. The hearing will focus on Local Government Officials and General Government. Tuesday, January 29 at 10:00 a.m. is Transportation. Fiscal hearings on Economic Development and Taxes is February 26 at 10:00 a.m.
Alcohol Beverage Control License Fees
Increase fees to raise $8M in FY3.
Alcoholic Beverage Tax
Stricter enforcement provisions to "protect" $1M in FY2003 and $3M in subsequent fiscal years.
Cigarette & Tobacco Tax (already enacted
Increase of the tax rate from $1.11/pack to $1.50/pack effective 4/3/2. Tax collections will total some $1.25B in FY3 -- up 23%.
Corporation Franchise Tax
- Creation of a Low Income Housing Credit saving $2M in taxes in FY3.
- Creation of a Brownfield Tax Credit effective 4/1/3 for expenses incurred after 12/31/1.
Motor Vehicle Fees
Doubling of boat registration fees effective 10/1/2 raising $1.3M in FY3.
Personal Income Tax
Tightening of withholding parameters to yield $155M in FY3.
Sales and Use Tax
- Change in the Electronic Fund Transfer threshold to $500K to yield $32.5M in FY3.
- Alteration of the price index for pre-paid SUT by cigarette distributors to yield $5.8M in FY3.
- The already enacted Cigarette Tax rate increase will result in $11.3M increase in SUT revenues.
Besicorp-Empire State Development Company, LLC has formally submitted its Article X application for a 505 megawatt combined-cycle natural gas-fired generating facility in Rensselaer County. The project is unique in that it will also be a recycling center for newsprint. The application, filed in late December, brings the total to ten (10) projects currently in the application phase under Article X of the Public Service Law (siting law).
In addition to these projects, five (5) applicants have already been approved by the Siting Board. These projects are; SCS Astoria Energy (Queens), Athens (Greene County), East River Repowering (Lower Manhattan), Heritage (Oswego County) and Ravenswood (Queens). Five (5) other are have filed preliminary scoping statements and should file applications in the future while two (2) projects have filed pre-application reports but have not submitted formal applications. The total number of projects, both approved and pending under Article X, stands at twenty-three (23).
In mid-December Sithe Energies announced that it was withdrawing its Sentry Station (formerly Torne Valley Station) application. That 300 megawatt project was to be located in Ramapo, Rockland County.
One additional Article X project has been announced recently; Indian Point Peaking Facility. This 400 megawatt project is to be located in Buchanan, Westchester County. The project developer is Entergy who operates the nuclear powered electricity generating facilities in Buchanan.
The Business Council has filed for party status in each of the last five cases that have applied under Article X. These projects include; Bethlehem, Brookhaven, Wawayanda, Astoria (Orion), and Besicorp.
With the scheduled expiration of the Article X siting law at the end of 2002, The Business Council will be carefully examining the siting process and law to see where problems have developed. The Council will dedicate much of its February 25th Energy Committee meeting to Article X and the law's renewal. We are currently reaching out to our members in the generating and electricity industries for their input. While the issue is of great importance to our generating and utility members, the siting of new power plants is also needed for the overall reliability of the energy markets in New York State and therefore all segments of the economy.
For more information on Article X projects
access the Department of Public Service
web site at:
Proposed Fee Increases
Staff Contact: Ken
The following is a summary of business-related fee increases included in the Governor's Executive Budget, based on our initial staff review of Article VII bills. Note that these bills have not yet been introduced, so we cannot provide you with the related bill numbers. Please contact the appropriate GAC staff person for additional information.
AGRICULTURE AND MARKETS
- License fees for food processing establishments increase from $70 for a two year licence to a $100 annual fee.
- Registration fees for the sale of pet foods increase from $25 to $100 per brand.
ALCOHOL AND BEVERAGE CONTROL
- Alcohol beverage control licence fees increase by the changes in inflation since the last legislative increase; these increases are approximately 15 percent for grocery stores, and 108 percent for other licenced entities. Increases are phased-in over a three-year period.
- New hazardous waste program fee surcharges ranging from $4,000 to $360,000 per year, per facility, based on the volume of annual waste generation. These represent roughly a ten-fold increase in existing hazardous waste program fees.
- Existing petroleum bulk storage registration fees are doubled, to $100, $300 or $500 for a five year registration period, based on the volume of the registered tanks.
- The sunset on pesticide product registration fee increases is repealed, resulting in a permanent fee structure of $100 or $300 per registered product, based on the volume of in-state sales.
- Increase in several pesticide business fees, including those for commercial applicator permits, pesticide applicator certification exams, commercial applicator certifications, private applicator certifications, and pesticide business registrations. These fees range from $5 to $50; new fees range from $25 to $150.
PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION
- Counties are authorized to establish a new monthly surcharge of up to $.30 on wireless communications services. Wireless service providers can retain two percent of collections as an administrative fee.
- The fees for filing, recording and certifying records by county clerks office increase from $5 to $20.
- New examination and licence fee schedules are established for a wide range of disciplines regulated by the Department of State, including: real estate broker and salesperson; apartment information vendor or apartment sharing agent; alarm installers; private investigators; private watchmen, guard and patrol agencies; armored car carriers; security guards; bedding repair-renovator or re-builders; appearance enhancement specialists (i.e., nail specialist, waxing specialist, natural hair stylist, estheticist and cosmetologist); coin processors; barber and barber apprentices; operator of pet cemeteries; hearing aid dispensers; notary publics; appraisers; and central dispatch facilities. The current fee structure is adjusted as follows: fees up to $50 are increased by $5; fees between $50 and $100 are increased by $10; fees between $100 and $200 are increased by $25; and fees over $200 are increased by $35.