This Week in Government Affairs
January 13, 2014
Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2014 State of the State message presented many positive themes, including continued fiscal discipline—pledging another budget proposal with no more than 2 percent spending growth—and broad business tax reforms that will lower tax rates and compliance costs. The Governor also proposed significant new public infrastructure investments and support for new private investments in energy infrastructure. Our overview of the Governor’s annual message is available here.
- Budget Hearings - The legislature has released the schedule for joint Senate/Assembly budget hearings. The Business Council will be testifying on Feb. 10 at the tax and economic development hearings.
Staff contact: Ken Pokalsky
- Health Care hearings - This week, the New York Senate Health and Insurance Committees are holding a joint hearing on the impact federal health care reform is having on insured individuals, families and small businesses. This hearing will be followed by a Health Committee roundtable on out-of-network payment issues on Jan. 27 at 10 a.m. Both hearings will focus on issues that acutely impact the cost of health care and health insurance premiums. The Business Council offered written testimony to the Senate Health Committee for Monday’s hearing.
Staff contact: Lev Ginsburg.
- Minimum Wage Compliance - New York State’s minimum wage increased to $8.00 per hour on Dec. 31, 2013. In addition, the minimum salary required for exempt classified employees rose from $543.75 per week to $600.00 per week. Please be sure to print out and post in your workplace the new and updated state minimum wage poster.
Staff contact: Frank Kerbein
- Bill Memos - The legislative memo section on The Business Council’s website includes updated information on bills of interest and/or concern to members.
- UI Work Search Rules - The State Labor Department has adopted new regulations regarding work search requirements for Unemployment Insurance (UI) claimants, effective Jan. 1, 2014, requiring at least three work search activities each week, and enumerates acceptable work search functions. The Business Council provided input into this rulemaking and supports its implementation. The final rule and the department’s assessment of public comment can be found here.
Staff contact: Frank Kerbein
Please visit The Business Council’s Political Action Committee (PAC) page for information on upcoming PAC events.
Please note the following additional items of interest:
- On Jan. 7, the New York State Energy Planning Board issued its draft 2014 New York State Energy Plan. The board has already begun a process to accept comments from the public. Additionally, the board will conduct six statutorily required public hearings throughout the state, the dates and times of which have yet to be announced.
Staff contact: Darren Suarez
- During his State of the State address, Cuomo announced his appointment of Mark Gearan, president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, as gaming commissioner. In this role he will oversee the casino rollout. Cuomo anticipates that request for proposals for the four casino licenses in upstate New York will be posted in March and due in June of this year, and set a tentative timeline for announcing the awardees in early fall, with construction soon to follow.
- On Dec. 30, Cuomo announced that approximately $500,000 in job training grants is still available through the On-the-Job Training National Emergency Grant for businesses that hire long-term unemployed New Yorkers. According to the press release, $9 million has already been awarded to more than 660 businesses.