Government Affairs Albany UpdateMarch 2, 2007
- Business Council Fiscal Testimony
- Consensus Economic and Revenue Forecast Report released
- Additional Confirmations
- Executive Order on Minority/Women Owned Business
- U.S. House Votes to End Secret Ballot Union Elections
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 and testimony are enclosed, and they are also available on our web site at: www.bcnys.org/whatsnew/2007/0228BudgetTestimony.htm
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 at: www.budget.ny.gov/
The Senate will be acting on three more gubernatorial appointments next week. These include:
- M. Patricia Smith, Commissioner of the Department of Labor. Ms. Smith had been the state's Assistant Attorney General in-charge of the Department of Law's Labor Bureau since 1999.
- Lorraine Cortes-Vazquez, Secretary of State. Previously, Ms. Cortes-Vazquez was Vice President of Government & Public Affairs at Cablevision Systems Corporation.
- Kumiki Gibson, Commissioner of the Division of Human Rights. Ms. Gibson most recently served as Senior Vice President for Administration & Governance Officer and Counselor to the President at The National Urban League since 2005.
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.
More complete background information on all of Governor Spitzer's key appointments are available online at: www.state.ny.us/governor/appointments/index.html
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 (available online at http://www.state.ny.us/governor/executive_orders/index.html) has two major components:
- It creates an M/WBE Executive Leadership Council, charged with increasing participation of M/WBE businesses in the state procurement process. This will be a sixteen person board appointed by the Governor, chaired by Lieutenant Governor Paterson, and including representatives from major procuring and oversight agencdies, including the Offices of State Comptroller, Budget and General Services; the state Chief Information Officer, SUNY, the Departments of Economic Development, Transportation, Education and Corrections, and several major public authorities. The Council is to identify best practices for state agencies for promoting M/WBE business participation; identifying potential changes to statute, regulations, and practices to support M/WBE contract participation; and evaluating procurement practices of public authorities related to M/WBEs.
- It creates a M/WBE Corporate Roundtable, also chaired by Lt. Governor Paterson, that will be comprised of thirteen private sector members appointed by the Governor, with participants from businesses that have "distinguished themselves by purchasing a significant percentage of goods and services from a diverse supplier base." Their role will be to make recommendations to increase M/WBE participation in state contracting, including but not limited to: technology to facilitate and track M/WBE contracting; goal setting for M/WBE utilization; benchmarking for accurate recording of M/WBE utilization; and appropriate training of state procurement officers to ensure full understanding of the M/WBE program.
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.
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. Here is the complete list: http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2007/roll118.xml