Government Affairs Albany Update
November 25, 2009
- Governor's DRP Legislation
- Public Authorities Legislation
- DHS To Conduct Business Development Meetings
Yesterday, Governor Paterson released three legislative proposals: an Article VII; an appropriations bill implementing their deficit reduction proposals; and a bill that would provide the Governor with temporary emergency authority to reduce appropriations without additional legislative action. The text of these proposals are available on our web site here.
The Governor's DRP legislation differs from his earlier proposals in several significant ways:
- while the Governor's initial DRP pledged no new revenues, this legislation contains an increase in the hospital gross receipts assessment (increasing the rate from 0.35 percent to 0.75 percent, an increase of $45 million for the remainder of this fiscal year);
- it contains less in Medicaid spending cuts, with previously proposed cuts replaced in part by the proposed increase in hospital GRT;
- it contains less in education spending cuts, and would allow the acceleration of federal ARRA education funding, originally earmarked for Fiscal 2011, into the current fiscal year.
The legislation does carry-over a number of provisions from the Administration's earlier presentation, including:
- a $250 million tax amnesty program;
- a $480 million cut in state school aid (offset by shifts in federal ARRA funds);
- $125 million in transportation cuts (the bill specifies that these cuts are in state transit aid);
- a $90 million sweep of RGGI funds from NYSERDA;
- $62 million in higher education cuts;
- a $10 million transfer from the Environmental Protection Fund.
The bill contains several other changes from the initial DRP proposal. For example,
- a proposed $300 million transfer from the Battery Park City Authority is now $200 million, plus the legislation includes $100 million in BPCA bonding for affordable housing projects;
- a proposed reduction in state funds to offset the cost of Timothy's law on small business is increased to $20 million, from the initial DRP proposed cut of $5 million).
While The Business Council has supported the Governor's DRP proposal and its focus on cuts in the state's largest spending program, we have opposed new and increased taxes and fees as part of any final DRP legislation, and we oppose the proposed hospital GRT increase included in this bill.
The Governor has proposed, and the Assembly has passed, legislation that would significantly alter the way state authorities and state and local Public Benefit Corporations (PBC's), conduct operations in New York.
The bill (A.40012, S.66012) would change how authorities and PBCs appoint board members, increase reporting requirements to the Adminstration and the Legislature, subject most contracts to the approval of the State Comptroller, and reconstitute and strengthen the powers of the independent authorities budget office.
The proposed legislation would also limit the ability of authorities to form subsidiaries and restrict the bonding ability of subsidiaries, require authorities and PBCs to keep records of lobbying contacts, and restrict the ability of authorities or PBC's to transfer assets at less than full market value. It would also create new “whistleblower” protection provisions.
Finally, the bill would require any authority with a substantial interest in any hotel or convention center project to enter into a preferred labor agreement with a labor entity representing hotel workers for a period of not less than five years.
The bill passed the Assembly on November 18 and is currently in the Senate Rules Committee.
The Business Council supports transparency and accountability for all public entities, but opposes the labor mandate provision of this bill.
Dr. Mitch Erickson, Northeast Director for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Science & Technology Directorate, will be in the Albany area December 10 and 11. Mitch has offered to meet with Business Council members who wish to discuss projects and/or solutions under development, allowing him the opportunity to advise on how a potential solution aligns with DHS' mission and portfolio. These one-on-one meetings will be held at The Business Council in Albany.