Government Affairs Albany Update
June 19, 2009
The Business Council highlighted “must do” and “must stop” bills this week, as the 2009 session heads toward its scheduled adjournment next week. Citing continued economic problems, the Council urged the legislature to avoid imposing additional costs on private sector employers. Significant anti-job bills include:
- A.3659/S.1241, which would impose multiple wage mandates on IDA financed projects.
- A.8742/S.5791, mandating employers to provide paid family leave, making New York one of only four states with such a requirement.
- A.8100, substantially raise unemployment-insurance taxes by 15 percent to pay for increased, indexed benefits.
- A.8646/S.5768, that would substantially broaden the state's Martin Act to allow the plaintiff's bar to bring suit against business for alleged violations of the state's securities law.
The Council also urged the Legislature to act on key economic development proposals, including:
- A.5700/S.2898, restoring the ability of IDA's to fund “civic facilities” projects, and allow $2.5 billion in planned projects to move forward.
- A.8803/S.5598A, that would assure continuation of Empire Zone benefits to businesses that have met their legal obligations and have made significant investments and added jobs in the state.
- S.5839, to extend the Power for Jobs and Economic Development Power programs for another year, through June 30, 2010.
The Council is again opposing legislation, A.1567 ( Brodsky)/ S.5793 (Krueger) that would require New York State incorporated businesses to provide for remote shareholder participation in shareholder meetings. The bill has passed the Assembly, and was recently introduced in the Senate by Senator Liz Krueger. It requires publicly traded corporations to adopt “reasonable measures” to permit shareholders to attend meetings via remote communication and to be deemed present for voting purposes. We urge you to review this bill for potential impact on your business, provide us with your comments, and reach out to your State Senators to express your opposition.
While the Obama Administration proposed on Wednesday a short-term, 18 month extension of the SAFETEA-LU, House leaders vowed to move ahead with a six-year, $500 billion transportation reauthorization bill, rather than accept an 18-month extension of current programs with modest modifications. Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Jim Oberstar (MN-08) and Ranking Member John Mica (FL-07), and Highways and Transit Subcommittee Chairman Peter DeFazio (OR-04) and Ranking Member John Duncan (TN-02) unveiled a Blueprint for the Surface Transportation Authorization Act of 2009.
According to the executive summary, the Blueprint "will transform federal surface transportation from an amalgamation of prescriptive programs to a performance-based framework for intermodal transportation investment. The Blueprint is designed to achieve specific national objectives: reduce fatalities and injuries on our nation's highways; unlock the congestion that cripples major cities and the freight transportation network; provide transportation choices for commuters and travelers; limit the adverse effects of transportation on the environment; and promote public health and the livability of our communities."