Government Affairs Albany Update
May 28, 2010
- Hazardous Waste Fees
- E-Waste Recycling Mandate
- Advocacy Continues on "Abusive Workplace" Bill
- Cuomo Agenda
As part of the financing package for state parks, the legislature has approved a restructuring of hazardous waste fees that will increase assessments on the state’s largest hazardous waste generators, and result in a net reduction of assessments for others. Overall, the proposal would increase assessments by 22 percent, or about $2 million, with the additional funds dedicated to the “Environmental Protection Fund.” These provisions are in S.7988/A.11308 (provisions start on page 25, line 19 of the bill text.)
Specifically, the proposal would:
- repeal existing hazardous waste program fees (Article 72-0402) and surcharges (Article 72-0403);
- impose a $130 per ton fee on hazardous wastes generated on or after 1/1/2010, subject to the following caps:
- $300,000 for a facility generating under 4,000 tons per year
- $400,000 for those over 4,000 TPY and at or under 10,000 TPY
- $800,000 for those over 10,000 TPY
- impose a new $6,000 per year assessment on generators of 15,000 TPY or more of hazardous wastewater;
- retain existing exemptions for remedial wastes (including all cleanups under state and federal superfund) and for universal wastes;
- generators recycling at least 90 percent of their waste or wastewater would pay assessments on only the non-recycled wastes;
- change the methodology for calculating assessments to base the current year’s assessments on the prior year’s actual generation; and
- direct 15 percent of these receipts to the Environmental Protection Fund to pay for non-hazardous waste expenditures.
The “parks” legislation, S.7988/A.11308, also establishes a statewide electronics recycling mandate (see page 10, line 35 of the bill.) Contrary to the bill’s hazardous waste fee provisions, these e-waste provisions had been subject to extensive industry input.
In general, the bill:
- applies to computers, computer peripherals, small electronic equipment, small-scale servers, cathode ray tubes and televisions, as defined in the bill;
- requires manufacturers to establish e-waste recycling programs that includes equipment they produce, and a proportional share of other e-wastes generated within the state;
- establishes statewide recycling goals and imposes surcharges on manufacturers for failure to achieve recycling goals;
- requires registration, and registration fees, for manufacturers of covered equipment;
- prohibits manufacturers from charging recycling fees from any “consumers” other than businesses with 50 or more employees, and not-for-profit corporations with 75 or more employees (except § 501(c)(3) corporations);
- phases in a prohibition of disposal of e-wastes in either solid or hazardous waste disposal facilities;
- requires annual reporting by manufacturers; and
- pre-empts any local requirements for e-waste recycling.
A more detailed description of the e-waste recycling program is available here.
The “bullying” bill, A.5414 (Englebright) /S.1823 (Morahan), continues to require our attention. Here is the Business Council’s opposition memo.
Business Council staff met with Assemblyman Englebright’s staff for a second time this week to make the case for holding the bill in committee. Also, work continues to have businesses in his district visit the district office on Long Island to oppose this bill.
Business Council members all across the state should communicate with their Assembly Members that there are already sufficient protections for employees in the workplace on both the federal and state levels, that this legislation will increase the cost of operating a business in New York State and that it will work against businesses creating the hundreds of thousands of real private sector jobs needed to get employment levels back to pre-recession levels.
If added to our state labor law, this bill could make the employer responsible for the behavior of any employee that another employee considers offensive, hostile, threatening, derogatory or uncivil and could subject employers to an avalanche of litigation and exposure to liability for lost wages, medical expenses, emotional distress, punitive damages and attorney’s fees.
Earlier this week, Attorney General – and now Democrat gubernatorial nominee – Andrew Cuomo released “The New NY Agenda: A Plan for Action,” a broad-ranging agenda that included a number of Business Council priorities.
Overall, the “New NY Agenda” included:
- a number of government reform measures, including increased financial disclosures for public officials; campaign contribution limits, including significant limits on contributions by “lobbyists and public contractors;”
- state fiscal reforms, including a state spending cap tied to inflation, a broadly inclusive real property tax cap, a freeze on state salaries, and a freeze on state personal income, business income and sale taxes;
- a restructuring of the state’s economic development agencies and an economic development program that would offer tax credits for the hiring of the unemployed, a “Move to NY” tax credit for employers that add jobs (of up to 80 percent of the increased PIT withholdings from new employees) for a period of up to 10 years, and a sunsetting of the current Empire Zones program.