Government Affairs Albany Update
June 18, 2010
- Economic Development
- Legal Reform
- Financial Services
The State Legislature began passing final budget bills today, indicating that we may be nearing end of the 2010 legislative session. The following provides a quick review of significant legislation of concern to Business Council members for the remainder of session. Please feel free to contact Business Council staff for further information on any of these issues, or to discuss issues of significance to your business not included here.
New York State Construction Industry Fair Play Act. This bill (A.8237/S.5847) creates a presumption that all workers at a construction site are employees rather than independent contractors.
Excelsior Program. A three way agreement has been reached on replacement for Empire Zones (A.9709-C/Budget). New tax credits for businesses in targeted sector limited to $50 million per year.
Power for Jobs. Administration and Senate have agreed to legislation (S.8065), which The Buinsess Council supports; Assembly has alternative plan (A.11172). Program expired June 2, 2010. A one year extender legislation is possible.
IDA Prevailing Wage. Legislation (S.1241/A.3659) to require prevailing wage and living wage mandates for IDA-assisted projects has stalled in Assembly.
GHG Limits. Senate is circulating limited amendments to their bill; Assembly version has already passed (S.4315/A.7572). Administration supports their existing Executive Order on climate change council over a statutory program.
Chemical bans. Legislation (S.7070/A.10089) would allow the state to ban use of "chemicals of high concern" in consumer products.
Abusive workplace. Legislation (S.1823-B/A.5414-B) to allow employee suits for a wide range of “abusive” workplace behavior, which as passed the Senate, has been held in Assembly Labor Committee.
Paid Family Leave. This bill (S.5791/A8742) expands the disability benefit program to cover a range of family care activities.
Unemployment Insurance. The Governor has committed to, but has yet to propose, new unemployment insurance benefit increase/taxable wage base legislation.
Electronic employee monitoring. This bill (S.4755-A/A.3871-B) would impose new workplace posting for, and acknowledgement from, new employees of workplace electronic monitoring.
Transportation benefit plan. Legislation (S.1858/A.10048) would mandate all employers of 50 or more establish a pre-tax payroll deduction program for commuting and parking expenses.
Medical Malpractice “Reform.” The Legislature and Governor are considering a tax on property and casualty insurance policies to close the $480 million deficit in the MMIP insurance program. Although there is not yet a bill pending, The Business Council opposes.
Deceptive and Unconscionable Acts and Practices. This bill (S.7301/A.10306) would expand the consumer protection deceptive acts and practices section of the general business law.
Wine in Grocery Stores. Legislation to allow for sale of wine in grocery stores (S.5787/A8632-A) is still under discussion as the state scrambles for additional resources to close budget gap.
Business tax credit deferral. Governor’s proposal (drafted but not introduced) to defer 50% of most business tax credits that otherwise would be used in 2010, 2011 and 2012 remains under discussion. This would apply to ITC, brownfield, Empire Zone, R&D and other business credits.
ESCO sales tax exemption. Assembly’s proposal to eliminate the sales tax exemption for energy sales to ESCO’s (A.9710-B) remains under discussion. Potential impact of $150 million per year.
Solar RECs. Legislation (S.7093-B/A.11004-A) to mandate electric utilities buy output from solar projects thru 2039 has an estimated $30 billion price tag over the life of the program.
Utility service worker prevailing wage. This bill (S.7096-A/A.10257-A) would treat energy utility building service contracts as “public works” for prevailing wage purposes, as it will add to utility costs and set dangerous precedent for other private sector occupations.
Telephone Utility Mergers. Legislation (S.7263/A.2208) would significantly impair ability of telephone businesses regulated by the PSC from merging unless they commit significant benefits to consumers.
Martin Act. Legislation would allow the state retirement fund and other institutional investors to sue under the very broad provisions of the Martin Act (S.5768/A.8646).
Corporate Owned Life Insurance. This bill (S.6236/A9439) would impose a fifty-percent franchise tax on business-owned life insurance benefits.
Employer Choice Group and Blanket Disability Policies. Provides employers the choice of selecting certain types of group and blanket disability policies. The Business Council supports (S.4770/A.8543).
CPA Mobility. This (S.6307/A.9432) allows accountants licensed in other states to have practice privileges in New York State. A version of the bill passed the Senate, the other version is in the Assembly Higher Education Committee.
Credit Unions. Establishes the savings bank, savings and loan association or credit union municipal deposit program. The Business Council opposes (S.717/A.4319).
Consumer credit actions. This legislation (S.4398-A/A.7558-A) would reduce the statute of limitations on consumer credit actions from six years to three years; bar debt collectors from collecting debts upon the expiration of the three year statute of limitations; impose costly legal procedures on businesses; and permit court clerks to review applications for default judgments. The Business Council opposes.
Corporate Contributions. This bill (S.7083-A/A.9948-B) would require approval of majority shareholders in order for a corporation to make political contributions.