Government Affairs Albany Update
January 8, 2010
- State of the State
- New York Insurance Exchange
- New Air Emission Rules Proposed
- "Chemicals to Avoid List"
Governor Paterson gave his 2010 State of the State (SOTS) address on Wednesday (text and related information is available here.) The Business Council was encouraged by its focus on economic growth and state fiscal reform. The Governor also made broad proposals for state ethics reforms.
From a Business Council perspective, highlights of the SOTS included:
- a cap on state spending based on the rate of inflation;
- replacing the expiring Empire Zone program with a new economic development package, the “Excelsior Jobs” program, that includes enhanced investment and R&D credits, and a new employment credit;
- new efforts to improve the efficiency, and reduce size and costs of, both state and local government;
- new technology seed capital and small business revolving loan funds to promote growth of innovation companies;
- creation of a long term replacement for the Power for Jobs program, and support investments in energy efficiency by manufacturers and other businesses;
- a new power plan siting law; and
- promoting investments in “back office” operations in upstate New York.
The SOTS also included several issues of concern, including:
- a real property tax circuit breaker for residential properties only, funded with state tax dollars, rather than a cap on real property taxes that would more effectively limit the growth of local government, and provide tax relief to all classes of property owners;
- limited scope of the “Excelsior Jobs” proposal, through its sole reliance on increased in-state headcount, rather than significant capital investment, as threshold criteria for new incentive. As proposed, this package would not provide assistance to major capital investment/job retention projects; and
- a commitment to eliminate state information technology contracts, regardless of their case-specific cost-effectiveness.
While the Governor’s message discussed fiscal reform, and several budget initiatives, it did not present an overall framework for the upcoming Executive Budget, nor did it include any commitment to avoid new taxes and fees in closing the projected $6 billion structural gap in the FY 2011 Executive Budget. Many of the initiatives discussed in the SOTS will be addressed in the Executive Budget proposal, due out by January 19.
Business Council Staff Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
In the SOTS, the Governor also called for the establishment of a revived New York Insurance Exchange (NYIE). The original insurance exchange operated from 1980 to 1987. The revived NYIE would operate in a manner similar to Lloyd’s of London with the goal of keeping insurance dollars in New York for sophisticated insurance transactions that are moving offshore. The Governor estimates that an additional $7 to $10 billion in premium dollars can be generated to create high-quality jobs and provide stimulus to New York’s financial services sector.
The Department of Environmental Conservation has proposed revision of air emission rules that will have broad impact in the manufacturing and other business sectors. The proposals, supporting material, and hearing schedule, are available here.
Of broadest impact will be proposed amendments to their “reasonably available control technology” (RACT) requirements for NOx emissions from most industrial and commercial boilers and combustion sources. This proposal also limits the current regulatory exemption for small stationary and portable combustion sources.
This package also includes regulations to incorporate the California vehicle CO2 emissions program, and proposes new NOx RACT standards for hot mix asphalt plants; cement kilns at Portland cement plants; commercial and industrial adhesives, sealants and primers; and printing operations.
The Business Council’s Environment Committee is in the process of reviewing these proposals, and will be submitting comments on this regulatory package.
New York has drafted a list of 85 chemicals for state agencies to avoid buying in an effort to comply with Governor Paterson's Executive Order #4, issued in 2008, to buy environmentally friendly products.
The "chemical avoidance list" was developed by an advisory council with limited business involvement. Business representatives have argued that the risk of human exposure to chemicals must be backed by science. The list includes components of solvents, herbicides, plastics, preservatives, glues, carpets, paints, dyes and lubricants and such chemicals as Bisphonel-A, which is widely used in linings of bottles and food cans.
The state's Interagency Committee on Sustainability and Green Procurement referred the list to a subcommittee to examine it in terms of the actual purchasing that state agencies are required to do. There is no set timetable for its availability for public comment.