Government Affairs Albany Update
March 13, 2009
The Business Council delivered testimony this week to the Senate Select Committee on Budget and Tax Reform on proposals to increase personal income tax rates for upper end income taxpayers, and make the state's income tax “more progressive.” We illustrated that New York's PIT is already steeply progressive, with the lowest 40 percent of filers by income with no income tax liability, and the top 25 percent of taxpayers account for more than 89 percent of all PIT tax liability. We also emphasized our overall budget objectives of additional spending constraint, rejection of anti-competitive business taxes, effective use of federal stimulus dollars and – if necessary – reasonable revenue actions. This newly created six member committee is chaired by Senator Liz Krueger.
Anti-Payroll Tax Advocacy Campaign
The Business Council continued its efforts this week in drawing attention to the harmful impact the Ravitch Commission plan to bailout the MTA would have on businesses throughout the 12-county MTA jurisdiction. In addition to the almost $2 billion in taxes currently paid by businesses, the Commission proposed a new payroll tax designed to generate $1.5 billion annually to meet the operating and capital needs of the MTA. Since launching our e-advocacy campaign earlier this week, over 575 businesses have joined us in letting legislators in both houses know of their opposition to this proposed new tax on wages and benefits. We urge all Business Council members to make their views known on the impact this proposed payroll tax would have on your business.
Business and Labor Oppose Health Insurance Taxes
On Monday, March 9, Kenneth Adams was joined by Denis Hughes, president New York State AFL-CIO, and Kathryn Wylde, president & CEO, the Partnership for New York City, to oppose health insurance taxes proposed in the Executive Budget that would increase health insurance costs and make it harder for employers and workers to afford coverage. The State Legislature has already approved increasing health insurance taxes by $348 million as part of the Deficit Reduction Plan to help close the current year's $1.6 billion budget deficit. An additional $481 million in new and increased health taxes that were proposed in the overall Executive Budget await lawmaker action. You may view the news release here.
Use of RGGI Funds
The NYS Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has drafted a plan for use of proceeds from CO2 allowance sales under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. It is a basic plan for spending an estimated $525 million in allowance proceeds over the next three years. It includes programs addressing commercial and industrial energy efficiency, power supply and delivery, and other sectors. The Business Council will be submitting comments, and would appreciate your input. Contact: Ken Pokalsky, (518)465-7511, ext. 205, firstname.lastname@example.org to provide input or for more information on this proposal.