March 2, 2007 - Government Affairs Council Update

Business Council Fiscal Testimony

Kenneth Adams presented testimony to the Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means committees, urging legislators to reject the business-tax increases proposed in Governor Spitzer's Executive Budget. "Raising business taxes will hurt the Upstate economy," Adams told the committees. "And, as Mayor Bloomberg has said, a major tax increase on employers will hurt New York City as well. We're already losing jobs and people because our taxes are too high. Common sense and painful experience make one thing clear: Raising business taxes by half a billion dollars will only make our economic problems worse."

Banks and manufacturing companies are among those affected most by the proposed tax increases. If you have not asked your company's tax professionals to review the relevant proposals in the Executive Budget, please do so as soon as possible. Summaries of the major proposals are included in Adams' testimony.

The press release

Consensus Economic and Revenue Forecast Report Released

With the enactment of budget reform earlier this year, the consensus revenue forecasting process by the Executive and the Legislature was accelerated and now will be concluded each year by March 1.

A Consensus Forecasting Conference was held on February 27, 2007 and experts provided testimony forecasting the economy. As a result, the Executive and Legislature have agreed to increase the estimate of General Fund receipts by $575 million for the two fiscal years of 2006/2007 and 2007/2008.

The report is available on the Division of Budget website.

Additional Confirmations

The Senate will be acting on three more gubernatorial appointments next week. These include:

These appointments will be considered by the Senate Finance Committee, which is meeting Tuesday, March 6, 2007 at 12:30 p.m. in Room 124 of the State Capitol.

Executive Order on Minority/Women Owned Business

Governor Spitzer has signed a new Executive Order intended to promote involvement of minority and women owned business in state procurement contracts. Executive Order #8

State officials say they are looking to have appointments to the Roundtable made by April.

The Business Council will be working with Lt. Governor Paterson, and Michael Jones-Bey, Empire State Development Corporation's director of M/WBE programs, to make recommendations to the Roundtable, and on M/WBE and related procurement policy issues.

U.S. House Votes to End Secret Ballot Union Elections

Yesterday in Washington, the House of Representatives voted 241 to 185 to end allowing employees a secret ballot union election by passing the "Employee Free Choice Act." It will have a tougher go in the Senate plus the President has announced plans to veto it if it makes it to him.

Of those representatives present for the vote, all New York Democrats voted Yes along with Republicans King, Fossella, McHugh & Walsh. The remaining Republicans voted No. Representative Maloney did not vote.