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Government Affairs Albany Update

March 20, 2008

New Business Council Budget Op-Ed

Business Council President Kenneth Adams praised Governor Paterson's proposal to cut $800 million in spending from the Executive Budget, but urges the Governor to support additional spending reductions and reject onerous business taxes in an op-ed piece published in today's Buffalo News. A copy of the op-ed is available here.

Budget Update

Both the Senate and Assembly have now introduced one-house amendments to the Executive Budget proposal (S.6800-B through S.6810-B, and A.9800-B through A.9810-B, respectively).  The Senate passed a budget resolution last week, but has not yet acted on its budget bills; the Assembly has already passed its one-house budget bills.

Each house made significant changes to the tax and fee proposals included in the Executive Budget.  The Senate rejected virtually all of the Administration's revenue proposals; the Assembly rejected several tax increases of concern to The Business Council, but also proposed a $1.5 billion increase in the personal income tax imposed on upper income taxpayers. A summary of the legislative revenue bills is available here.

On other budget issues of interest to Business Council members:

Please feel free to contact Business Council staff with any specific questions about the Senate and Assembly budget proposals.

Vendor Responsibility, Procurement Lobbying Law Covered at Contract Procurement Council Meeting

The Business Council members attending the Contract Procurement meeting earlier this week participated in an interactive demonstration of the Office of State Comptroller's (OSC) on-line Vendor Responsibility System.  OSC staffers Diane Taylor and Irene Waldorf walked the group through the process of building an on-line profile, including a new feature which displays all contracts within that vendor's employer identification number. Thirty state agencies including Department of Health and SUNY are among the early adopters of the NYS VendRep System. OSC is working closely with the Department of Transportation and the Office of General Services to bring them on board.

Mike Nevins, The Business Council's representative on the state Advisory Committee on Procurement Lobbying Law, discussed some of the challenges with the law's implementation.  Members agreed on several next steps to identify and pursue recommended changes to the statute.

Legislative Committees Grappling with Workforce Issues

The Business Council issued three legislative bill memos this week on workforce related issues being debated in the state legislature. The Business Council supported two bills that would create workforce training initiatives within Empire State Development,Assembly Bill 3119, which places a particular emphasis on supporting workforce training for strategic alliances, and Senate Bill 2004 which establishes a specific program targeted to in-demand, high tech jobs. The Business Council opposed the third bill, Assembly Bill 7528, which proposes to include seasonal agricultural employees within the eligibility thresholds for unemployment insurance, state disability insurance coverage and overtime pay.

DOT Commissioner Glynn Submits $25.7 Billion Capital Program

New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Astrid Glynn submitted a $25.7 billion Five-Year Capital Program to the State Legislature. According to Commissioner Glynn, the Capital Program is a forward-looking effort to carry out core multi-modal investments of highways, bridges, rail, aviation and port facilities. A copy of the Capital Program can be obtained on our web site by clicking here.

The Business Council is working with member companies, DOT, the MTA, federal representatives, Chambers of Commerce and several regional transportation organizations to advocate for infrastructure projects important to businesses.

Implementation of the Capital Program is contingent on financial support from Federal, State and Local government, as well as, input from regional Metropolitan Planning Organizations.

Email Alert! - Political Fundraising List

Business Council members can register to receive a weekly email list of political fundraisers. The Business Council PAC (TBCPAC) receives invitations to political fundraisers from elected officials, political parties and candidates seeking financial support. Don't miss an important political event, register for the weekly email alert.

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