Government Affairs Albany UpdateMay 3, 2002
The State Assembly has introduced legislation to extend the "Power for Jobs" program. Nearly two hundred businesses are currently receiving reduced cost power from the second and third-year phases of this program. Importantly, year-two Power for Jobs contracts, first issued in 2000, will begin expiring this Spring without an extender.
Under this legislation A.11252 (Rules @ request of Tonko) an additional 183 megawatts of reduced cost power would be available to extend contracts for current program participants, with any surplus power then made available to new applicants. These provisions are similar to S.6245 the Governor's program bill introduced earlier this session by Senator Wright.
However, the two bills differ in several respects:
- A.11252 would extend second and third-year contracts
by a full three years, while S.6245 would extend the program
until December 31, 2005.
- A.11252 does not include any of the statutory updates
proposed by the New York Power Authority which
administers the Power for Jobs program included
in S.6245. These include amendments to those sections of
the Public Authorities Law that link Power for Job power
to the Fitzpatrick nuclear plant, which NYPA no longer
- A.11252 excludes provisions in S.6245 that would facilitate the provision of Power for Jobs power through energy service corporations, or ESCOs.
Further, the Assembly bill does not address two issues of
concern to utilities: an extension of provisions dealing
with the loss of power sales to Power for Jobs participants,
and a provision extending tax credits that offset reduced
revenues due to program participation.
The Business Council strongly supports extension of the Power for Jobs contracts, and continues to push for a program extension to be addressed through the current budget negotiations.
At a May 2, 2002 Working Families Party news conference in Manhattan, gubernatorial hopefuls Andrew Cuomo and Carl McCall made a joint appearance urging Governor Pataki to increase the state's minimum wage to $6.75 per hour. It is currently $5.15 per hour.
A. 5132-A (Nolan), calling for a $6.75 per hour minimum wage and with an annual escalator passed the Assembly on April 10, 2002 with a 127 to 19 vote. S. 4749 (Spano), calling for a $6.75 per hour minimum wage but with a different escalator than A. 51323-A, is currently in the Senate Labor Committee.