This Week in Government Affairs
April 25, 2012
- Top Story
New York Power Authority Approves Recharge New York Allocations
- Legislative Update
Post Budget Priorities
Small Business Issues
State Minimum Wage Increase
- Regulatory Update
Executive Order 38
The New York Power Authority approved its first round of Recharge New York allocations today. NYPA approved allocations to 422 businesses, including 122 small businesses, which received total allocations of 522 MW of low cost hydropower and NYPA purchased power. Other applications are still under review, and NYPA has an open application process for additional participants. NYPA’s resolution, which includes background information on the program and on their allocation criteria, is available here.
The list of initial allocations is available here.
The Recharge New York program was finalized in 2011. The Business Council worked successfully with Governor Cuomo and the state Legislature to adopt a permanent, statewide economic development power program, after years of one-year extenders of the old Power For Jobs program. Recharge New York will provide low cost electric power, and long-term renewable contracts, to businesses that maintain job, wage and investment commitments. These allocations will help offset the state’s high cost of power for energy-intensive business, especially in the state’s manufacturing sector, and will support new and retained jobs and new capital investment.
More than 1,000 entities applied for more than 2,100 MW of power, compared with a total of 910 MW of total available power. Among other things, NYPA said they generally awarded business applicants 50 percent of their requested allocation or 50 percent of their historic demand, whichever is less, capped at 10 MW per application/location.
We would be interested in any comments or questions from applicants and members receiving allocations. Staff contact: email@example.com.
Key Legislation This Week. This week, the Business Council is working on the following legislation:
- We are opposing A.8367-A (Silver @ request of the State Comptroller) and
A.9885 (Silver). In setting up public campaign financing systems, both bills would impose surcharges on “Martin Act” fines and penalties to generate additional state revenues. These bills are on the Assembly Elections Committee agenda on Thursday. Our memo in opposition is available here.
- We are opposing A.7173 (Galef), which would allow most school districts to impose surcharges of up to 25% of the state personal income tax liability of district residents, as a substitute for a share of residential real property tax income used to finance school budgets. This bill is on the Assembly Education Committee agenda on Thursday. Our memo in opposition is available here.
- We are supporting S.6288-A (Robach), which will permit employers to give their employees the option of electing to receive their wages via a debit card. Under current law, employers can pay their employees either with cash, check, or by direct deposit with approval of the employee. This is before the Senate Labor Committee. Our memo in support is available here.
Post Budget Priorities. Based on input from our members, the following provides our proposed list of Business Council priority issues for the remainder of the 2012 session, listing legislation on both the proactive and defensive agenda. Details on these issues are available here; all Business Council bill memos on these and other legislative proposal are available here. As always, we appreciate your input into our advocacy efforts, and welcome your questions and comments on these and other pending legislative issues. Staff contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Business Council supports:
- Wage Theft Prevention Act reform. S.6063-A (Defrancisco)/A.8856 (Gabryszak).
- Wage withholding legislation (including authority to withhold for employee PACs), amended version of S.5786 (Young)/A.8465 (Morelle).
- Scaffold law reform. S.6816 (Gallivan)/A/2835 (Morelle).
- Narrowing scope of Executive Order 38 (by legislation or amended EO).
- Restore/reform “qualified emerging technology company” credit (legislation to be introduced).
- Unemployment insurance wage base bill. S.6850 (Ritchie)/A.9725 (Morelle).
- SEQRA reform. TBC is developing legislation.
- Creation of Tourism development fund. S.6663 (Little)/A.9605 (Markey).
- Allow Paycheck Payment cards. S.6288 (Robach)/A.6894 (Wright).
- Preclude PSC regulation of VOIP. S.5769 (Maziarz)/A.8459 (Brennan).
The Business Council opposes:
- Minimum wage increase and indexing. S.6413 (Klein)/A.9148 (Wright).
- Streetcutter prevailing wage. S.3827 (Maziarz)/A.6970 (Wright).
- Physician collective bargaining. S.3186-A (Hannon)/A.2474-A (Canestrari).
- Martin Act expansion. S.4497-A (Libous)/A.6060-A (Lancman).
- Mandated minimum payment for “out of network” health care services. S.5068-A (Hannon)/a.7489-B (Gottfried).
- Restrictions on application WC medical treatment guidelines. S.3741 (Maziarz)/A.6294 (Wright).
- “Transportation fair pay” act. S.6267 (Golden)/A.8997 (Wright).
- Utility purchase of Solar RECs. S.4178 (Maziarz)/A.5713 (Englebright).
- Foreign debt default. S3767-C (Bonacic)/A.7967-A (Simotas).
Small Business Issues. Last week, The Business Council, in conjunction with NFIB, the Farm Bureau, Unshackle Upstate and a number of other organizations, renewed the Annual Small Business lobby day in Albany. Legislative visits focused on six issues whose impact will be shared by small and large business alike. They included: minimum wage hikes; wage theft prevention act reforms; scaffold law reform; controlling out of network service costs to health plans; the so-called Transportation Industry Fair Pay Act (affecting the independent contractor status of owner/operators); and fixing unintended unemployment tax impacts when employees are dismissed for cause.
State Minimum Wage Increase. A major focus this week, and likely the remainder of the 2012 session, will be proposals to increase the state minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 an hour for tip-earning employees, with future increases indexed to increases in the consumer price index. The Business Council has opposed the minimum wage increase due to its direct and indirect cost to business, and its adverse impact on jobs, particularly for low skill workers. Additional information on the minimum wage is available here.
Executive Order 38. Executive Order 38, issued on January 18, 2012, established executive compensation and administrative expense limits on entities with contracts and grants to provide “services” to the state. The open-ended scope of the Executive Order raised many concerns among Council members.
Initially, the EO required implementation rules to be proposed by mid-April.
While the Administration is still working to finalize language, they are close to completing draft implementation rules, and expect to send them to the NYS Department of State on 5/1/2012, for scheduled publication in the State Register on 5/16/2012 (as required under the rule adoption provisions of the State Administrative Procedures Act). This latter date would be the start of a minimum 45 day public comment period. Initially, the Executive Order indicated that implementation rules would be promulgated by April 18th.
Previously we reported to you that the Administration’s implementation rule would narrow the applicability of EO 38 by:
- Applying only to entities that provide services to individuals on behalf of the state, not services to the state.
- Categorically exempting low bid contracts let pursuant to State Finance Law Section 163.
- Applying executive compensation and administrative cost criteria only to entities that receive at least 40% of their revenues from the state, with revenues over $400,000, for at least two consecutive years.
This week, we were also told that:
- The Administration is not considering amending the EO “at this time.”
- They were still working on details of the draft rule, and were open to additional suggestions.
- They have not, and did not plan on, sharing the draft rule with any external stakeholders prior to its submission to the Secretary of State. However, we should be able to obtain the proposed rule upon their submission to the S/o/S, and prior to the State Register publication date.
- Similar rules will be submitted by about 13 state agencies (he could not provide me with the full list), all of which have contractors that provide direct services to individuals on behalf of the state.
We will report to members on any additional feedback we receive from the Governor’s office, and as soon as we obtain a copy of the proposed rules.