Government Affairs Albany UpdateDecember 21, 2007
- Business Council Budget Testimony
- Business Council/Department of Labor Discuss Employee Misclassification
Staff Contact: Ken Pokalsky
Business Council President Kenneth Adams argued for spending restraints and
further tax reform in testimony delivered this week to the New York State Division
of Budget. Over the past two weeks, the Division has held hearings on education,
real property taxes, housing and economic development issues, as its completes its
work on the Executive Budget proposal for Fiscal 2009.
Key findings and recommendations in our testimony included:
- State revenues are up significantly, with state tax collections up by $11
billion over the past three years. The state's projected deficit is a function of
excessive spending growth, based on a $5.5 billion, or nearly ten percent,
increase in General Fund spending next year.
- Spending growth should be targeted to the rate of inflation. If we had
applied this standard over the past three years, we would be entering FY
2009 with a budget surplus.
- New York needs to adopt additional tax reforms supporting new capital
investment, and new economic growth in New York State, with an emphasis
on the innovation economy, and the crucial need to promote new growth in
- High property taxes continue to adversely impact business, and are a drag
on economic growth. In conjunction with STAR rebates, the state should
adopt significant mandate reform and cap on local property tax levies in
order to assure real property tax relief.
These concerns were echoed by other hearing participants. Rochester Business
Alliance President Sandy Parker, speaking on behalf of the Unshackle Upstate
Coalition, argued for several initiatives targeting upstate, including a five year phase
out of corporate franchise taxes for all business operating in Upstate, for an
expanded “shovel ready sites” program, and for brownfield program reforms.
Economic Development Council President, Brian McMahon, also argued for spending
constraints; for preserving key economic development tools, such as Empire Zones
and Industrial Development Agencies; and for increasing the role of Empire State
Development Corporation's regional offices in supporting regional development
full testimony is available
testimony provided at the
four Division of Budget
hearings is available online
The Business Council met with Department of Labor representatives this week to
discuss Executive Order 17, which establishes a Joint Enforcement Task Force on
Employee Misclassification. Members include the Commissioner of Labor, Attorney
General, Commission of Taxation and Finance, Chair of the Workers' Compensation
Board, Workers' Compensation Fraud Inspector General, and the Comptroller of the
City of New York. The Executive Order was created to respond to concerns that
employers in New York and elsewhere are improperly classifying individuals as
The Task Force is examining ways to better coordinate and implement enforcement
of employers' legal obligations under the federal and state labor; employment and
tax laws including minimum wage, overtime, prevailing wage, unemployment
insurance, workers' compensation insurance, temporary disability insurance, wage
payment and income tax. The Department has posted on its web site ways for tips or
complaints to be filed with Department of Labor.
The Business Council emphasized to the Department that some claims of worker
misclassification are not indicative of employer wrongdoing. The Department agreed
to work with the Business Council to address these and other employer concerns.
The Task Force is scheduled to release a report to the Governor on February 1. The
report will provide details about investigations and enforcement actions. Members
who have questions or concerns about employee classification or responsibilities
under the various state statutes for wage and benefit coverage can find further
information on the Department's web site at: www.labor.state.ny.us.