Government Affairs Albany Update
April 9, 2010
- Enough Already
- Senate Fiscal Reform Proposal
- Power for Jobs Update
- Pushing Back on New Taxes
- Infrastructure Funding
- New Cooling Water Restrictions
- CPA Mobility
The Business Council has started a new public engagement campaign. Enough Already NY is uniting New Yorkers who want lower taxes, more efficient government, economic growth and jobs. Our message is simple: No new taxes, No new borrowing, No more gimmicks. It’s time to cut runaway spending and enact major fiscal reforms.
If you have not already done so, please send a message now to Albany telling them Enough Already! Also, please share this alert with friends, co-workers, and neighbors to help get the word out.
The Senate Majority announced a state fiscal reform package this week. Championed by Finance Committee Vice-Chair Liz Krueger, the proposal would: change the start of the fiscal year to June 1 and institute biennial budgeting; require the proposed and adopted budget be in balance based on GAAP; and create a “non-partisan” legislative budget office, modeled on the CBO. It would also create a fifteen person commission to design a “performance based” budgeting and management system for the state.
Importantly, the package does not include Business Council fiscal reform priorities such as a state spending cap, limits on local real property taxes, reforms in the state employee benefit programs, or further consolidation of local government.
The Senate package would also require that the state’s annual “tax expenditure report” include cost/benefit assessments of all personal, business and sale tax credits and exemptions. Additionally, it would impose sunsets on all existing tax expenditures over the next five years, in order to “force the Legislature to regularly review and amend the State’s tax breaks systems.”
While the Council supports some components of this package, we oppose the proposed sun-setting of all tax credits, which would result in enormous uncertainty in tax and investment planning.
Staff contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
There are now four separate bills to create a long term replacement for the Power for Jobs and Economic Development Power programs; the Administration has issued a draft program bill, and Senator Aubertine, Senator Maziarz and Assemblyman Cahill have all introduced separate proposals. Access to the bill text, and our comparison of key provisions of these four bills, is available here.
Based on input to date, we believe the Administration’s proposal is the best framework for legislative negotiations.
The bills share several basic components:
- they would redeploy so-called “rural and domestic” hydropower, albeit over different schedules;
- they create a permanent replacement program;
- they offer longer term (7 year) contract durations, with varying provisions to allow for extensions during the contract period; and
- they share some of the same criteria including job creation and retention, size and value of payroll and benefits at the facility, capital and efficiency investments, significance of energy costs to the facility, and others.
Please feel free to contact us for further details, or to discuss these legislative proposals. Staff contact: email@example.com
As budget discussions drag on, The Business Council continues to push back on new tax proposals that would adversely impact Council and the state’s economy. These include:
- Proposed Elimination of ESCO Sales Tax Exemption – The Assembly’s one-house budget/revenue bill included a proposal to eliminate the sale tax exemption for services provided through energy service companies . The state’s most recent tax expenditure report estimates the impact of the state-level sales tax exemption to be $150 million in 2009. The Business Council has opposed this proposal; our memo in opposition is available here. We urge ESCO customers to weigh in on this proposal with their local legislators. Staff contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sales Tax Increase on Promotional Materials - The Business Council is opposing A.9710-B Budget Article VII – Part R that would repeal the current sales tax exemption for in-state companies that produce and distribute promotional materials outside of New York State. This bill would raise taxes by an estimated $25 million on New York State and adversely affect a wide range of businesses in New York, including retailers, financial services, utilities and others. Staff contact: email@example.com
In a press statement, Business Council President Kenneth Adams said that New York must maintain a safe and viable infrastructure, and that the current suspension of payments for ongoing construction projects puts New Yorkers at risk. Safe roads and bridges are vital to our economy, and New York cannot shirk the responsibility to maintain roads and bridges. The Business Council supports the restoration of funding for all suspended construction projects.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation has proposed a new policy document that establishes closed-cycle cooling or its equivalent as the performance goal for “best technology available” for cooling water intakes with withdrawal capacity of 20 million gallons per day or greater. This proposal, which applies statewide, would impose significant costs on both new construction and on existing utility and industrial sources with substantial surface water intakes. We urge affected members to review this proposal and provide us with input. The Council will be submitting formal comments to DEC prior to the end of their public comment period on May 9, 2010.
The Business Council is supporting legislation (A.9342/S.6307) that would grant Certified Public Accountants (CPA) licensed in other states the mobility privileges to practice in New York State. Due to the national and global nature of business, CPA’s are frequently asked to provide financial services across state borders. This legislation will help New York State maintain its status as the financial capital of the world by permitting CPA’s and their clients the flexibility to provide services in a national and international economy.