Government Affairs Albany Update
March 9, 2009
MTA Mobility Tax Proposal
The Administration has issued draft legislation to implement the recommendations of the “Ravitch Commission,” including a “mobility tax” in the MTA's twelve-county Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District (MCTD), tolls on East and Harlem River Bridges, and numerous organizational changes within the MTA. A copy of the mobility tax language is available here; the entire bill is available here.
The mobility tax, designed to raise $1.5 billion per year to finance expenses of the MTA, would apply to employers with payroll expenses for “covered employees” in excess of $2,500 in any calendar quarter. “Covered employee” is defined as an employee employed within the MCTD. The tax also applies to the net earnings of self-employed individuals whose earnings attributable to the MCTD exceed $10,000 for a tax year.
The tax rate is 0.34% of the “payroll expenses” of affected employers and self-employed persons. “Payroll expenses” are wages and compensation as defined in Sections 3121 and 3231, respectively, of the Internal Revenue Code. IRC Section 3121 defines “wages” as “all remunerations, including benefits.”
The Business Council has been meeting with legislators in the 12 county MTA region over the past several weeks to express strong opposition to this payroll excise tax. If this proposal is of concern to you, we urge you to contact your local legislators, and legislative leaders, as soon as possible.
Senate Republicans Unveil Budget Plan
The Senate Republican Conference outlined a budget plan for FY 2009-2010 that rejects the proposed tax increases in the Executive Budget, restrains spending, and does not rely on finding new revenue sources to continue spending at unsustainable levels. The plan includes a spending cap, an investment in job creation programs, and mandate relief for local governments. The powerpoint presentation is available here.
As a reminder, The Business Council has launched an e-advocacy program emphasizing our opposition to the more than $4 Billion in increased business taxes and fees included in the Executive Budget proposal. 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 tax proposals. As the Legislature moves forward on budget negotiations, it is essential that business makes its voice heard.
Assembly Insurance Chairman Morelle Participates at Council Forum
Assembly Insurance Committee Chairman Joseph Morelle (D,I – 132nd A.D.) was the special guest at a forum hosted by the Business Council Financial Services Committee. Assemblyman Morelle answered questions about the insurance tax increases in the 2009-10 Executive Committee and potential state regulation of credit default swaps. The Business Council has actively lobbied members of the Senate, Assembly and Executive Chamber in opposition to the massive tax hikes on life, health and property/casualty insurers.
Assemblyman Morelle expressed his concerns and pledged to help oppose the insurance tax increases in the 2009-10 Executive Committee. Another discussion item was the potential state regulation of credit default swaps. In December 2008, Assemblyman Morelle was named Chairman of the National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) Financial Services and Investment Products Committee. The Committee is developing a comprehensive credit default swap policy and has posted hearing testimony at www.ncoil.org.
Assemblyman Morelle was a 2008 Business Council Champion, an award bestowed upon Legislators that have the vision and determination to help large and small businesses prosper in New York. The Business Council would like to thank Assemblyman Morelle for his participation and efforts to oppose insurance tax increases in the 2009-10 Executive Committee.
Council Lobbies Governor/Legislators In Opposition To Insurance Taxes
Business Council President Kenneth Adams and members of the Government Affairs team continue lobbying Legislators in opposition to the massive insurance tax hikes proposed in the 2009-10 Executive Committee. As businesses and consumers struggle through the global recession, imposing a massive tax hike on the life; health; and property and casualty insurance industry is extremely damaging to the economy and will inevitably contribute to the mounting job losses in New York State.
The Council will continue actively lobbying Legislators in opposition to the massive insurance tax hikes in the 2009-10 Executive Committee.
Council Lobbies Assemblywoman Susan John
Construction Committee Director Walter Pacholczak; Steve Stallmer (AGC); Fred Hiffa and Megan Bailey (Ostroff-Hiffa Associates) lobbied Assemblywoman Susan John (D,WFP - 131st A.D.) about her bill imposing a prevailing wage mandate on certain off-site custom fabrication for public works projects (A.3101/S.588). The discussion focused on the significant cost increases associated with this bill and enforcement concerns from the Department of Labor. The Assemblywoman said that she would continue discussing the scope of the bill with employers and employees.