Government Affairs Update
November 21, 2008
Senate To Return
Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos has called the Senate back to Albany for December 15, the day before Governor Paterson's scheduled release of his Executive Budget proposal. No legislative agenda has yet been proposed.
Adams Joins Governor, Leaders on DC Trip
Business Council President Kenneth Adams joined Governor Paterson, Speaker Silver and Senator Malcolm Smith in Washington this week to meet with the state Congressional Delegation to push for an economic stimulus package for states. The package would include capital investment for infrastructure needs; increased federal funding for Medicaid (F-MAP) which could provide state-level budget relief; and modifications to the Pension Protection Act of 2006 to ease the funding requirements on companies with defined-benefit pension plans. (Our Congressional letter on pension relief is available here.)
Adams and others emphasized the for Congress to act quickly to assure timely realization of benefits, such as funding for “shovel ready” construction and infrastructure projects.
The Business Council has been appointed to a NYSERDA advisory committee charged with helping develop a plan for use of $200 million, or more, in annual revenues generated by sale of CO2 emission allowances under the regional greenhouse gas initiative (RGGI). Funds are to be used for state support of “energy efficiency, renewable/non-carbon emitting technologies; and innovative carbon emission abatement technologies.” Their draft concept paper is available here. The timeline is for a final proposal by March, 2009. The Council supports adoption of a “funding cap,” — applying revenues above a target amount to rate relief — and focusing new state spending on deployment of technology in the industrial, commercial and residential sectors.