Government Affairs Albany Update
April 9, 2010

“Enough Already”

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.

Senate Financial Reform Package

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: ken.pokalsky@bcnys.org

Power for Jobs Update

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:

Please feel free to contact us for further details, or to discuss these legislative proposals. Staff contact: ken.pokalsky@bcnys.org

Pushing Back on New Taxes

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:

Business Council Calls for Infrastructure Funding

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. 

Water Quality Permits

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.

CPA Mobility

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.

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