This Week in Government Affairs
May 16, 2013

Top Stories

Regional Economic Development Councils

Governor Cuomo and Lieutenant Governor Duffy have initiated the third round of Regional Economic Development Councils (REDCs). In this new, third round, the competitive process will provide $760 million in state funding and tax incentives - including $150 million in economic development capital and $70 million in Excelsior tax credits - and $540 million through other state-supported programs. For the $220 in economic development funding, the five regions identified as “top performers” will receive $25 million each and the remaining will compete for the balance of $25 million. Each region is also eligible for up to $10 million in tax credits. The Governor also announced the process for naming “Innovation Hot Spots,” authorized in the FY 2014 state budget. Application will be through the state’s consolidated funding application process; the CFA will open to applicants on June 17 and submissions from the regional councils are due September 24. Contact: ken.pokalsky@bcnys.org

Working Women Agenda

Last week, the Independent Democratic Conference issued a proposal for a five point “Working Women’s Agenda.” The IDC’s proposal requires that public employees be compensated equally based on the concept of “comparable worth.” It would also mandate paid family leave by offering employees 12 weeks for the birth of a child or family care, and increases the cap amount of Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) from the current $170/week to 50% of the statewide Average Weekly Wage (AWW) over four years. Other provisions included in the proposal are expanded childcare subsidies, increased entrepreneurial assistance and career placement through the Department of Labor, and financial education through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

The Business Council’s main concern with the proposal is increasing paid family leave and benefits. Although the proposal states these measures would be employee funded, increasing benefits usually means higher costs for businesses. We have opposed this provision in the past and will be reviewing this proposal closely once the formal IDC proposal is introduced. Contact: ken.pokalsky@bcnys.org or Frank Kerbein.

Legislative Update

The Business Council issued a memo on the following bill that is on the Assembly Ways and Means Committee this week.

A.1048 (Sweeney), Oppose, Mercury-Containing Thermostat Recycling  — Although we support the intent of this bill - to promote the proper disposal of mercury-containing thermostats - we disagree with key components of this proposal. Contact: darren.suarez@bcnys.org.

Political Update


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Items of Interest

Tourism Summit

Governor Cuomo’s Tourism Summit, held last Wednesday, May 8, in Albany, resulted in a number of action items to support New York State Tourism. The Governor hosted a panel of tourism industry leaders, including Business Council President and CEO Heather Briccetti, and later held breakout sessions on issues such as attracting sports and event-driven tourism; interest-based and niche tourism (i.e., cultural, heritage and agri-tourism); and international tourism. The Governor later announced additional marketing dollars and some action items that would be implemented as a result of the summit. A few highlights include a $60 million investment in tourism by the state, which is the highest level of funding in decades and a new marketing campaign in conjunction with the Port Authority and the MTA. For a complete list please click here. This Friday, May 17 the Tourism Industry will hold a follow up summit to continue the progress made at the Governor’s Summit. The event will be held at DestinyUSA in Syracuse, NY.

Transforming New York's Energy Future: Policy, Innovation, and Economic Growth

On Tuesday May 21, the American Chemistry Council and New York State Chemical Alliance, in partnership with The Business Council will host an informative discussion with industry experts addressing the importance of natural gas, energy efficiency, and energy recovery in New York.

Heather C. Briccetti, President and CEO of The Business Council, will be a featured speaker and will discuss the current political climate, policies that will establish New York as a leader in the new energy economy, and the innovations being developed locally that will transform New York’s manufacturing industry.

Additionally, Darren Suarez will moderate a panel on Energy Recovery, covering both established and emerging technologies that can convert waste to energy. For more information, please click here.

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