Government Affairs Albany Update
May 27, 2011
- Property Tax Cap
- Bills to Undo 2007 Workers' Comp Reform Moving
- Paycheck Deductions
- Public Private Partnerships
- Public Policy Institute Report on Manufacturing
As was widely report this week, a three-way agreement in principle was reached on adoption of a real property tax cap bill. While final legislation has not yet been approved, the following provides an overview A.7916, the legislation introduced this week in the Assembly.
The Business Council applauded the agreement, saying that the cap will bring the state closer to economic recovery. Our press release is available here.
The bill, as introduced:
- applies to counties, cities, towns, villages, fire districts, special districts and school districts, but excludes NYC and the “Big 5” school districts;
- applies to local government fiscal years beginning in 2012, and to the 2012-13 and subsequent school years;
- imposes a cap on increased real property tax levies of 2% or inflation, whichever is less;
- allows a carry-forward of unused cap space of up to 1.5%; and
- the real property tax cap only remains in full force and effect so long as does the NYC rent control statute.
Under A.7916, exemptions from the cap for local government & school districts are limited to:
- tax increases attributed to a physical change to, or increased quantity of, taxable property (the so-called growth exclusion or “quantity change factor,” technically, an adjustment to the cap, not an exemption);
- court orders or judgments for tort actions exceeding 5% of taxing jurisdiction’s prior year real property tax levy;
- in years when increases in pension contributions exceed 2%, the tax increases necessary to finance pension contributions, less 2%; and
- for school districts only, voter approved capital expenses.
Under A.7916, each local government calculates its own tax levy limit (subject to review by the state comptroller) after the Department of Taxation and Finance calculates the applicable “quantity change factor.”
The bill requires a 60% vote of a local legislature or 60% approval in a school budget vote to override the RPT cap. Numerous conformance amendments are included but not yet reviewed.
Full implementation of the 2007 workers’ comp reforms remains a top priority for Business Council members, particularly with benefits increasing 85% since 2007 with another increase set to take effect in July. Several bills moving in the Legislature seek to undo those aspects of workers’ comp reform which were specifically targeted to generate the savings necessary to pay for the increased benefits.
Coordinated lobbying efforts in opposition to S.3749/A.5183, which seeks to negate the benefits of pharmacy networks and S.3741/A. 6294, which seeks to limit the application of evidence-based medical treatment standards, is scheduled for June 6.
A.5448 (Morelle)/S.2837 (Young), a bill to allow employee paycheck deductions to be made by employers that are for the benefit or convenience of employees, was reported by the Assembly Labor Committee on May 17th, and it passed the Assembly on May 23rd. The Senate bill was reported out of the Senate Labor Committee onto the calendar on May 24th. The Business Council support memo has been distributed. This bill is important to all Business Council members as the Labor Department has stepped up enforcement on payroll deductions using interpretations of two court decisions as the basis for prohibiting all paycheck deductions not enumerated in Section 193 of the state’s Labor Law. The Senate is expected to act on this bill soon.
The Business Council presented testimony at the May 16th Public Hearing on Public-Private Partnerships convened by Senator Charles Fuschillo’s Senate Transportation Committee. The testimony can be seen here. Subsequent to the hearing, Senator Fuschillo introduced S.5445, his “innovative infrastructure bill,” authorizing the use of public-private partnerships in New York State. The Business Council was one of fourteen organizations that testified at the hearing. The Business Council is reviewing the bill which is on the Senate Transportation Committee’s June 2nd committee meeting agenda.
A new report by the Public Policy Institute (PPI), the research arm of The Business Council of New York State, Inc., finds that New York’s manufacturing sector is declining at a more rapid rate than that of peer states. According to the PPI, the sector’s impressive multiplier effect and sizable wage bonus demonstrate how critical it is to grow this industry in the Empire State. In addition to an assessment of the current state of manufacturing in New York, it includes a series of recommendations for improving the state’s manufacturing climate and promoting new industrial investment and jobs. The full report is available here.