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This Week in Government Affairs
March 12, 2012

TOP STORY

Council Launches “Made in New York” Website. The Business Council is supporting our members and the “buy local” movement, by launched MadeInNY.org. This new site will provide an added-value to our members by featuring your products and services and promoting them to fellow members and the general public. If you choose, it will enable you to provide membership discounts to other Business Council members as well. Increasingly, people are looking to support their local economy and local jobs by purchasing Made in New York products. We believe the “Made in New York” web site will become a popular destination for people seeking to buy in New York, and we look forward to your participation. Through this and related web-based promotions, we believe we will be able to add value to all Business Council members. All Business Council members are eligible to participate through our online registration process. Visit our web site here for information on participating in MadeInNY.org.

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

Budget Resolutions. Both the Senate and Assembly released their counter-proposals to the Executive Budget today. The Business Council will be sending out detailed summaries under separate cover.

Senate Jobs Plan. The Senate Majority has released its “2012 New Jobs/NY Job Creation” plan. Key components include:

The Senate package would also include a 2 percent cap on year to year increases in state spending, and require a two-thirds super majority vote on tax increase legislation. This proposal is expected to be included in the Senate’s budget resolution to be introduced and passed this week.

Key Legislation This Week. In a somewhat light week for legislative committee calendars, The Business Council is working on the following legislation:

REGULATORY UPDATE

Article X Comments Due. The Business Council is finalizing comments, due March 15, 2012, on two regulations required under last year’s Article X power plant siting law. These include a new Part 251 regulation which will establish carbon dioxide (CO2) emission standards for new major electric generating facilities (defined as facilities that have a generating capacity of at least 25 megawatts (MW)), and for increases in capacity of at least 25 MW at existing electric generating facilities. The DEC has also proposed a new Part 487, which will establish the regulatory framework for undertaking an analysis of environmental justice issues associated with the siting of a major electric generating facility, including the evaluation of significant and adverse disproportionate environmental impacts, if any, which may result from the facility’s construction or operation. We welcome any additional input from Council members. Written statements are being accepted by the Department until 5:00 p.m., Thursday, March 15, 2012. Staff contact: darren.suarez@bcnys.org.

Council Weighs CHPE Project. The Business Council is seeking input from members on the potential impact of the “Champlain Hudson Power Express” project. CHPE is a proposed power transmission line designed to bring 1,000 mw of power to New York from HydroQuebec. It is currently before the state Public Service Commission. The project consists of two (2) approximately 6-inch diameter HVDC transmission cables that will be buried beneath the beds of Lake Champlain and the Hudson River, and within a railroad right-of-way from Whitehall, New York to Coeymans, New York, with an alternating current converter station at Yonkers, and continuing south under the Hudson, Harlem and East Rivers to the existing Poletti substation in Astoria, Queens. On February 24, the applicant and a number of intervenors agreed to a “joint proposal” that included proposed settlements of many environmental issues regarding this project. The Business Council continues to review the project to determine the potential effect on rate payers, instate generation, the effects on instate transmission, and potential transmission upgrades, and are evaluating concerned that new transmission lines have an Open Access Transmission Tariff Process. However, there has been no open access offering to connect to this line by any New York entity thought the normal process. In addition, concerns have been raised regarding the effects of connecting to the Poletti substation in Astoria, Queen. Please contact us for additional information or to discuss this proposal. Staff contact: darren.suarez@bcnys.org.

MEMBER SERVICES

NY Youth Works Tax Credit. We are working with the state Department of Labor to remind employers of the new “NY Youth Works” tax credit that is intended to support the hiring of urban youth (16-24) by employers within reasonable commuting distance to those areas. This credit is $500/month for six months for full time employment (35 hrs. or more), with an additional $1,000 if they retain the employee for a full year, and can be applied to the corporate franchise or personal income tax. There also is a credit for part-time employment (at least 20 hours) – it is half the credit amount for full time. There is no limit to the number of individuals that a business could hire to receive the tax credit. Businesses must apply for certification by June 1, 2012. Go to the Department of Labor web site here for general information on this tax credit. Application forms are online here. Staff contact: ken.pokalsky@bcnys.org.

POLITICAL UPDATE

Upcoming Events. Please visit our website for a complete listing of Upcoming Political Fundraisers, including Business Council PAC sponsored events; the listing will be updated weekly. 

Congressional Redistricting. Federally appointed special magistrate Roanne Mann released her version of New York congressional lines well ahead of schedule this week. Mann was appointed by a panel of three federal judges after they agreed with a lawsuit claiming LATFOR had reached an impasse over the congressional lines. The same panel of judges will hold a hearing March 15 and will accept or reject them; Mann’s proposed congressional lines do not affect the proposed Assembly or Senate lines. New York must eliminate two congressional seats and Mann’s proposed lines would remove districts currently represented by Congressman Maurice Hinchey and freshman Congressman Bob Turner, who was elected during last year’s special election to replace Anthony Weiner. Mann’s lines could make an already chaotic election year that much more interesting by combining many downstate incumbent’s districts together and setting up interesting primary challenges, for example, Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries who has long been a declared candidate against Congressman Ed Towns would have to run without some of his strongholds; Jeffries has been holding rallies against the lines. Assemblyman Rory Lancman, who was planning to run against Rep. Bob Turner, could now be up against a fellow democrat, incumbent Congressman Gary Ackerman.