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Government Affairs Albany Update

May 11, 2007

Article X Legislation

The Business Council has submitted detailed comments on Governor Spitzer's draft Article X legislation. These comments were based on a review by our new board-based Energy Committee. The Business Council believes this draft legislation will do far too little to address the state's most pressing energy needs: promote investment in new generating capacity, lower the cost of electric power, address system reliability issues, and maintain fuel diversity in our power generation sector. Specific concerns include: inappropriate environmental performance thresholds that will preclude a number of categories of electric power projects from Article X review, and excessively restrictive criteria for siting additional capacity in urban areas.

School Tax Watch

The Public Policy Institute's annual "School Tax Watch" got an unusually high level of news media attention this year -- including front-page play in many papers across the state, a lengthy story in the New York Times and a lead editorial in the New York Post. The reason? It showed that armed with the largest increase in state aid in history, school districts are proposing to boost spending by double the rate of inflation, and are substantially increasing property taxes as well. The details are at:

Comptroller Report on FY 08 Budget

Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released a report yesterday on the enacted FY 2007-08 budget, which showed an overall spending increase of $9.4 billion, or 8.2 - more than three times the rate of inflation. The report also identified $2.9 billion more in state spending under this year's budget than was initially announced, citing significant capital spending that was not included in the state's Financial Plan. The Comptroller's report also projected out-year budget gaps of $3.1 billion in 2008-09, $4.8 billion in 2009-10 and $6.6 billion in 2010-11. The Comptroller criticized the budget as including excessive spending, and stressed the need for budget reform that controlled spending and that used more transparent presentations on income and spending level. The report is available at www.osc.state.ny.us/press/releases/may07/051007a.htm.

Department of Insurance Leadership Team

The Superintendent of Insurance Eric Dinallo has issued a formal announcement of eleven new appointments to executive positions within the Department. Key recent appointments include Kermitt Brooks as First Deputy Superintendent, Bruce Topman as Executive Director of the Department's Workers' Compensation Reform Work Group, and Zachary Weiss as Special Counsel. The full list of appointments is available on line at: www.ins.state.ny.us/press/2007/p0705101.htm.