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Government Affairs Update
December 5, 2008

MTA Payroll Tax Proposed

The Commission on MTA Financing, appointed by Governor Paterson in June, has recommended a 0.33% payroll tax on all private, public and non-profit employers, as well as self-employed individuals, located in the twelve county MTA region. If adopted, the tax would raise $1.5 billion annually to support MTA's capital improvements and related debt payments. This proposal would need approval by the State Legislature. The Commission recommended that another $600 million be raised by new tolls on East River and Harlem River bridges. Business Council President Kenneth Adams expressed concerns that this tax would be a disincentive to retaining and creating jobs in the MTA region. Details are available here. Council contact is: ken.pokalsky@bcnys.org.

Annual “Safety Net” Report

The Department of Labor has issued its first annual “safety net” report, on the success of workers' compensation claimants returning to work. These reports were required under the 2007 reform act. The report provides basic data on comp claims during 2007, but states there is not yet sufficient data to evaluate the state's “safety net” for claimants injured since March 13, 2007—the effective date of last year's reform package. The report also recommends a new DOL study of the long term return to work outcomes of claimants injured between January 2000 and July 2006 to provide a baseline for assessing the effect of the 2007 reform package in returning claimants to employment. The report is available here. Council contact is: ken.pokalsky@bcnys.org.

RPT Commission Final Report

The NYS Commission on Property Tax Relief  issued its final report and recommendations to Governor Paterson earlier this week. In addition to calling for the implementation of a school district property tax cap, the final report included numerous recommendations which, if enacted, would provide for mayoral control in the Big 4 school districts and would allow all school districts to reduce their expenses through mandate relief measures. The Business Council continues to support the implementation of a property tax cap as the first step in containing the growth of school budgets, and adoption of mandate relief measures during the upcoming legislative session.

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