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Government Affairs Albany Update

February 4, 2005

PSC Soliciting Comments on System Benefits Charge

The Public Service Commission (PSC) established a System Benefits Charge (SBC) in July, 1998 to promote energy efficiency and public policy programs during the transition to a competitive electric industry. The order designated NYSERDA as a third party administrator for the fund, collected by utilities from their customers. The program was originally funded at the rate of $78 million annually. However, when the SBC was extended by the Commission in 2001 for an additional five years, the PSC increased the SBC's funding level to $150 million annually.

The PSC is currently reviewing the SBC program (it is scheduled to expire on June 30, 2006) to determine if funding levels are appropriate and whether the program should continue. To facilitate the review, PSC staff is seeking comments, and will use these in developing a proposal regarding the future of the SBC program. Comments are due March 14.

Those interested in receiving the comments of other parties should submit their contact information, including an e-mail address, for an Active Parties list by notifying the Secretary, (at and also submitting a hard copy letter addressed to Jaclyn A. Brilling, Secretary, New York State Public Service Commission, 3 Empire State Plaza, Albany, New York 12223-1350, by February 11, 2005.
The list will be posted on the Commission's web site located at after February 18, 2005.

To facilitate distribution of the comments, an e-mail listserver has been set up. To subscribe, send an e-mail to and type the word "subscribe" in the subject of the e-mail message. Full instructions on using the listserver will be provided in a response e-mail confirming your subscription.

FY2006 Executive Budget Imposes Increased LLC Filing Fees

The temporary (two-year) increases in limited liability company filing fees created by the Legislature in a May 2003 override of the Governor's veto expired after 2004. Those increases on subchapter K limited liability companies and limited liability partnerships had raised the $50 per member, minimum total fee of $325, and maximum total fee of $10,000 to $100 per member, minimum total fee of $500, and maximum total fee of $25,000, respectively. The 2005-2006 Executive Budget proposes imposition of the higher fees on a permanent basis retroactive to taxable years commencing on or after 1/1/05.

FY2006 Executive Budget Proposes Permanent Sales Tax on Clothing

New York shoppers are scheduled to see the return of their sales tax exemption for clothing priced under $110 on June 1, 2005 unless the Legislature approves Governor Pataki's 2005-2006 Executive Budget proposal as set forth in Part H of S.995/A.1925. New Yorkers' $110 clothing exemption has been suspended since the Legislature passed a veto override effective June 1, 2003 as part of a "temporary" measure to balance the State's Budget.

While the Executive Budget seeks to lower the rates for the last year (2005) of the three-year temporary Personal Income Tax surcharged tax brackets, it seeks to do the opposite with the Sales and Use Tax by permanently repealing the $110 clothing exemption – as well as permanently denying those counties that have enacted the local $110 clothing exemption the right to resume those "shop local"-incentive exemptions on June 1, 2005.

Somewhat offsetting the proposed permanent taxation of clothing priced under $110, are two proposed one-week exemptions for clothing priced under $250. After taking into account the two proposed one-week exemptions, the permanent taxation of clothing under $110 will cost New York retail consumers 456 million dollars in FY2006 and 584 million dollars during its first year of full implementation in FY2007 (April 1, 2006 - March 31, 2007).

Industrial Process Improvement Grants

The New York State Energy Research and Development Corporation is making $2.5 million available for grants to manufactures to assist in the updating of underutilized industrial processes. Grants are available for up to 50 percent of qualified project costs, up to $250,000 per project. Proposals must be submitted by April 27, 2005.