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End of 2013 Legislative Session Summary

It is encouraging that the 2013 session closed with a focus on promoting economic growth. End of session action produced a new business incentive program, expanded small business assistance through the Excelsior jobs program, and – subject to voter approval – allowed new gaming venues upstate. Each of these measures will promote new investments and jobs.

Unfortunately, the legislature missed opportunities to adopt other broad-based, pro-growth measures. As example, both the Administration and the Senate majority coalition supported legislation to reform the state’s wage theft prevention act, and ease restrictions on the storage and transportation of liquefied natural gas. However, both proposals were rejected by the Assembly majority.

Earlier New York had another on-time, low-growth budget, and beneficial reforms to the state’s unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation programs. Those positive steps were offset by energy tax extensions and a minimum wage increase that will eventually add a $1 billion a year to business cost.

Several positive bills receiving two-house approval included eligibility expansion under the at-risk youth jobs tax credit, reforms in the assessment of utility properties, regulatory streamlining for state-chartered banks, and simplified administrative adjudication for small business.

On the other hand, the legislature approved several bills of concern to the Council, including a new “biofuel” mandate for downstate business and residents that will add millions to annual heating costs, and the so-called “transportation fair pay act” that will impose new compliance standards on independent truckers and their business customers.

The final “StartupNY” legislation contained several major modifications from earlier drafts, including annual caps on the number of employees that would be allowed income tax exemptions, increased opportunity for participation by downstate campuses, and more specific business sector targeting in the metropolitan New York area. The final bill also included reforms to the existing Excelsior jobs tax credit program that will expand opportunities for small business looking to invest and grow in New York.

Overall, the 2013 session provided mixed messages to New York’s business community. While New York is moving in the right direction on big issues such as balanced budgets and controlled spending growth, more needs to be done to make New York economically competitive, and to reduce compliance burdens on business.

The following provides our issue-by-issue summary of key legislation addressed during the 2013 regular session. Please feel free to contact Business Council staff regarding any of these proposals, or for information on other legislative issues of concern to your business.

Campaign Finance Reform

Not Approved

Construction/Transportation

Approved

Not Approved

Contract Procurement

Approved

Not Approved

Economic Development

Approved

Energy

Approved

Not Approved

Environment

Approved

Not Approved

Financial Services

Approved

Not Approved

Health

Approved

Not Approved

Labor

Not approved

Taxation

Approved

Technology/Telecommunications

Approved

Not Approved

Tourism

Approved

Not Approved

Workers’ Compensation

Approved

Not Approved