January 26, 2007 - Government Affairs Council Update

Senate Pushes Business Tax Cuts

The Senate Finance Committee reported S.1456 to the Senate Floor where it will be eligible for passage as soon as Tuesday of next week (January 30).

S.1456 is strongly supported by The Business Council: it would eliminate income taxation for manufacturers in New York as well as eliminate and reduce various taxes for non-manufacturing small businesses and farmers. Moreover, S.1456 would reduce the Corporation Franchise Tax (Article 9-A) rate for ALL Article 9-A taxpayers from 7.5% to 6.85%. Fully implemented, the bill would reduce state business taxes by $1.3 billion per year.

The Senate Majority announced the tax relief package at a Senate Majority press conference on Tuesday, January 9 at which Business Council President Kenneth Adams spoke following Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno's and Committee on Commerce, Economic Development , and Small Businesses Chairman James Alesi's remarks. Kenneth hailed the Senate proposal stating: "Business owners consistently rank taxes among the major competitive problems facing New York. Senator Bruno and the Senate Majority are right: We must cut business taxes this year to strengthen our economy and create a climate for new jobs. We look forward to working with the Senate, Governor Spitzer, and the Assembly to accomplish these essential goals."

Ethics/Lobbying Reform

Governor Spitzer has submitted his program bill implementing reforms of the the state's ethics and lobbying laws announced earlier this week by the Governor and legislative leaders. The bill could be could be introduced as early as today in the State Legislature.

Key features include the following:

The Business Council is preparing a more detailed review of this proposal, to be distributed to GAC members next week.

Environmental Appointments

Assemblyman Pete Grannis, chair of the Assembly Insurance Committee and long-time member of the Assembly EnCon committee, has been nominated by Governor Spitzer as Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation. His appointment must be confirmed by the Senate. There is no word yet on the schedule for confirmation hearings. He has said that his top interests would include: increasing Department staff; enhancing the DEC's enforcement activities; improving the brownfield program; reducing air pollution; and expanding the state "bottle bill' -- issues that have also been highlighted by Governor Spitzer. In the legislature, Grannis was the prime sponsor of the anti-smoking legislation, and strong supporter of the original SEQRA law, bottle bill and other environmental initiatives. Also, Judith Enck, environmental policy advisory to then-Attorney General Spitzer, was appointed as Governor Spitzer's deputy secretary for environment.