Back to Home

Government Affairs Albany Update

April 12, 2002

Dave Catalfamo to address GAC on 4/16

David Catalfamo, Senior Deputy Commissioner of Empire State Development, will be the featured speaker at the April 16th meeting of the Government Affairs Council. Mr. Catalfamo will be discussing the state's Empire Zones program and proposed changes to the program. He will also discuss the Governor's budget proposal to create a $750 million Empire Opportunity Fund. That fund would utilize anticipated State casino gambling revenues to support economic development projects on Long Island and upstate New York.
Business Council staff will be speaking about The Council's Fast Recovery Plan, a four-pronged initiative to spur economic development in the state. The Plan includes further tax cuts, incentives to improve transportation of people and goods, continued investment in high tech and more affordable health insurance for sole proprietors. Other updates to include workers' compensation and energy policy.

The meeting will begin at 10:00 a.m. in The Business Council's main conference room. No pre-registration is required.

Quebec-New York Economic Summit Announced

On May 21-22, 2002 The Plattsburgh-North County Chamber of Commerce and the Quebec Chamber of Commerce will host a summit aimed at fostering bi-national economic and trade relations. The event will be co-hosted by New York Governor George Pataki and Quebec Prime Minister Bernard Landry with opening ceremonies in St. Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec followed by a day long conference in Plattsburgh, New York. The summit is designed to further the development of the emerging Quebec-New York Corridor as a unique economic and trade region between these two nations. The conference will build on prior agreements and efforts such as the Quebec-New York Corridor Agreement signed in December 2001 by the New York and Quebec business communities. The gathering of business, government and trade officials from both New York State and Canada will provide a great opportunity to discuss joint efforts to improve and expand the area's bi-national markets and discuss tourism, transportation and technology needs.

The Quebec-New York Corridor stretches from Quebec City and Montreal through Plattsburgh to Albany to New York City. As NAFTA has accelerated the creation of an integrated North American economy, this route has emerged as an increasingly connected bi-national economic region with unique global connections. The summit will attempt to develop new and innovative ways to foster cross border partnerships and the encouragement of economic development, technology initiatives, and transportation improvements. The Business Council, with input from its chamber members, has developed a legislative program to foster greater focus on the border and trade issues in the regions of New York State that border Canada.

For more information on the event contact Garry Douglas at the Plattsburgh-North Country Chamber of Commerce at
(518) 563-1000.

Legal Action on Title V Permit Program
Staff Contact: Ken Pokalsky

On April 9, The Business Council petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York City to grant us "intervenor" status in litigation initiated by the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) against U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding EPA's approval of New York's Title V air permitting program.

NYPIRG has challenged a number of provisions of the state's Title V regulations, as well as the manner in which the Department of Environmental Conservation is implementing the program.

Specifically, in three separate suits, NYPIRG is challenging the EPA's final approval of the state's Title V program, the Title V permit program, EPA's response to a NYPIRG petition on alleged program deficiencies, and EPA's approval of three specific permits.

The Business Council is seeking to join the suit to assure direct representation of the interests of the regulated community. At least eighty Business Council members, and more than 100 member-owned facilities, currently hold or have applied for Title V permits. Overall, there are nearly 600 Title V permits issued or pending.

Key issues being litigated include the following:

The DEC has also asked to intervene in the litigation. There is no timetable for the court's decision on The Council's and DEC's application for intervenor status. Rice and Justice, The Business Council's general and legislative counsel, is representing The Council in this action.

For more information, contact Ken Pokalsky.

Empire Zone Expansion Proposed
Staff Contact: Ken Pokalsky

Saying that economic development upstate and on Long Island is the Senate's top budget priority, Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno has announced a $400 million initiative to expand the state's Empire Zone program.

To view Bruno's press release, click here to get to the Senate Home Page, select "Press Releases", then select "SENATE PROPOSES EXPANSION OF EMPIRE ZONE PROGRAM".

Key provisions of the proposal include:

The Business Council has supported the Senate's call for additional zones, and has urged the state to create new incentives for businesses making significant capital investments that primarily retain, rather than create, jobs.

No legislative text was available as of this morning. For additional information, contact Ken Pokalsky.

Environmental Regulatory Review Agenda Set
Staff Contact: Ken Pokalsky

The state's Title V air permitting program, environmental justice policy, a revamping of the water discharge permit program, and new restrictions on Great Lakes water usage are among the topics to be addressed at The Business Council's 1st Annual Spring Environmental Regulatory Review. The session will be held Tuesday, April 16 at the NYS Nurses Association facility at 11 Cornell Road in Albany.

The event will feature a number of speakers from the Department of Environmental Conservation, including newly appointed Executive Deputy Commissioner Denise Sheehan, and General Counsel James Ferreira. The event will also provide a review of key environmental legislation under consideration this session.

More than 100 members of The Business Council's Environment Committee have already registered.

You can also receive information by calling our Conference Development Department at 1-800-358-1202 (or 465-7511 in Albany.)To discuss seminar topics, contact Ken Pokalsky, Director of Environmental Programs.

Ross / Martinez to address Assembly Committees

Ken Ross, Executive Director of the New York State Insurance Fund, will address the Assembly Labor Committee on Tuesday, April 16 at 9:30 a.m. The meeting will be held in Room 524 of the Legislative Office Building.

Raymond Martinez, Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles, will address the Assembly Transportation Committee on Tuesday, April 16 at 2:15 p.m. The meeting will be held in Room 829 of the Legislative Office Building.