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Government Affairs Albany Update

March 19, 2004

New Mercury Labeling Legislation

Staff Contact: Ken Pokalsky
Assemblyman Tom DiNapoli, chair of the Assembly EnCon Committee, has introduced new legislation (A.10051) requiring the labeling of mercury containing products. The bill is on the EnCon committee agenda for next week. The bill has no Senate co-sponsor at this time. Specifics include:

The Business Council has several serious concerns with this legislation. First, its scope is far broader than that of any other state-level product labeling statute (i.e., Maine, Connecticut, Vermont, Rhode Island, Washington and Minnesota.)

As written, it would apply to a wide range of industrial, medical and commercial devices that would hardly qualify as "consumer products." It would also apply to products that contained a mercury-added products, such as a lamp or battery. Second, the municipal disposal ban would result in another, significant unfunded mandated, and an unnecessary one given the small and shrinking level of environmental emissions of mercury attributed to the municipal waste stream.

We look forward to hearing your specific comments and concerns regarding this legislation.

Outsourcing Update

As you know, the issue of "outsourcing" or "offshoring" of jobs has become a national issue. The Business Council has formed an Offshoring Work Group to track and respond to legislative proposals in New York. Here is a summary of recent activities.

Our memos in opposition: S.6338 ....... S.6040/A.9567

For more information on our legislative efforts in the area, or to be added to the work group contact list

Assembly Introduces, with 28 sponsors, Health-Insurance Tax Credit Bill

As a follow up to Wednesday's newsletter article, a bill that would give some small businesses a 50 percent health-insurance tax credit has now been introduced in the Assembly with 28 sponsors. The sponsors, in addition to those listed in Wednesday's article, include Assemblymen Towns and Wright. The prime sponsors are Assemblymen Joseph Morelle (D-Rochester) and Robin Schimminger (D-Erie County).

The bill (S.6332 / A.10251), which Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno and Senator Seward proposed in late February, would create a health-insurance tax credit that would help many businesses with 50 or fewer employees provide health insurance for their employees.

The new 43 percent tax credit, combined with an existing health insurance tax deduction, would produce an effective 50 percent tax credit for health insurance costs for businesses with 50 or fewer employees and net earned income of $290,000 or less.

The credit would be phased in over ten years and, when fully implemented, would result in an investment of almost $1.6 billion to provide health insurance coverage for hundreds of thousands of uninsured New Yorkers.

Six states - Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Oklahoma and Oregon - currently provide a similar tax credit.