Government Affairs Albany Update
February 13, 2009

Budget Testimony

Kenneth Adam's testimony to the joint legislative budget hearing is available here. Key points included:

The Business Council also opposed a budget proposal to retroactively impose new criteria on businesses receiving Empire Zone benefits, and raised concerns about the MTA-region payroll tax proposal recommended by the Ravitch Commission.

Empire Zone Advocacy

The Business Council is launching an advocacy effort directed at fighting proposals to retroactively impose eligibility requirements on Empire Zone employers. Under the Executive Budget proposal, a substantial number of Empire Zone companies could be removed from the program, including those that have made major capital investments and increased employment within the zones.

Not only will this proposal adversely affect current zone participants, it will damage future state development efforts by imposing new requirements on, and taking away, already-awarded development incentives.

The Business Council is helping members make their voices heard in Albany. Our easy-to-use advocacy web site will allow you to instantly send messages to your local legislators and legislative leaders, asking them to oppose the Governor's proposal

PIT Legislation

Senator Eric Schneiderman, along with seventeen co-sponsors, have introduced legislation to raise $6.2 billion in additional personal income tax revenues (S.2021). This proposal, pushed by the “Working Families Party,” would impose higher rates on taxpayers income above $250,000. The new rates are 8.25% on income between $250,000 and $500,000, 8.97% on income between $500,000 and $1 million, and 10.3% on income above $1 million. The state's current top rate is 6.85% on incomes over $40,000. This proposal would give New York the second highest marginal PIT rate of any state (only Montana has a higher top rate of 11%) and would push New York's PIT rates well above most other state (only one other state, California, has a top rate greater than 9%.)

While Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has supported the concept of increased PIT rates, to date, the Assembly Majority has not endorsed any specific rates or brackets.

An comparison of current and recent PIT proposals—including S.2021, PIT legislation passed by the Assembly in 2008, and the most recent PIT surcharges adopted in 2003— as well as the text of S.2021.

WARN Regulation Issued

The NYS Department of Labor has issued “emergency” regulations for the state's new plant closing and mass layoff law, the Workforce Adjustment and Retraining Notification act, or “WARN.” These emergency rules were effective January 30, 2009. The emergency adoption, and proposal for permanent adoption, are scheduled to be published in the February 18, 2009 State Register.