This Week in Government Affairs
May 12, 2016
- End of session issues
Division of Budget Director Robert Mujica addressed The Business Council’s Board of Directors this week, to overview key elements of the FY 2017 state budget and discuss end-of-session priorities. Remaining priorities include “ethics” reform, completing an MOU addressing the $2 billion/five year housing plan approved as part of this year’s state budget, developing programs and deploying resources to combat opioid addition, and adopting new programs to screen for breast cancer. He also cited the governor’s commission on business climate improvements, with its June 3 reporting deadline, as providing additional guidance on end-of-session actions and future regulatory reform proposals.
- Railroad bill package
As the legislative session heads into its final weeks, a series of railroad bills have been introduced in the Legislature. One of the bills, S.3458-B (Carlucci)/A.5235-B (Abinanti), would direct DOT to conduct a study of level grade rail crossings and to submit a report to the governor and the Legislature on or before April 1, 2017. Senate legislation, S.7409 (Murphy), would require every railroad corporation and every municipality having jurisdiction of a highway on which there is an "at grade" crossing to coordinate with DOT on a biennial inspection of any traffic control devices interconnected with a highway-rail at grade crossing warning system. Finally, S.7411 (Murphy) would align reporting requirements for railroad bridge inspections conducted by private railroads with current federal requirements. The bill is currently in the Senate Transportation Committee. If members have any concerns or issues on these statewide DOT/railroad provisions please contact Johnny.Evers@bcnys.org
- Higher education
The New York State Senate Democratic Conference this week unveiled a package of bills intended to — according to the press release — “increase affordability, reduces student debt, and increase college success.” A white paper detailing the initiatives is available here. Many of the recommendations address the issue of college debt, and increased state tuition assistance. The bills also endorse an expansion of a strategic statewide approach to early college high school programs, such as P-TECH, which have received strong support from The Business Council. The Business Council Education/Workforce Development Committee will receive a detailed write-up of the 15-bill package this week.
- Economic development
Senator Cathy Young this week introduced legislation (S.7583) — at the request of The Business Council— to make the Excelsior Jobs tax credit program more accessible to small businesses attempting to invest and grow in New York State, particularly in the state’s hard-hit manufacturing segment. Assemblyman Robin Schimminger will introduce a same-as bill in the Assembly. The most recent annual report shows that for program years 2011 through 2014, the program has awarded over $40 million in tax credits out of $500 million available. This legislation lowers the job creation and capital investment thresholds to encourage more businesses to apply to the program. The awarding of credits, and the determination of credits to be offered, remain at the discretion of Empire State Development. A program overview can be accessed here. Staff contact: Johnny.email@example.com
As always, we welcome your input on our advocacy agenda. If you would like to discuss end-of-session priorities, please contact The Business Council’s GAC staff.
- CES white paper
The Business Council last week submitted a letter to Kathleen Burgess, secretary to the New York State Public Service Commission, requesting that the cost benefit study on the Clean Energy Standard be amended. Click here to view the letter.
Staff contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Appendix B
The Office of General Services has released an updated Appendix B (general specification) for centralized contracts. Click here to view the document; when the page opens, click on the section entitled “For State Agencies.” The MS Word document for the new Appendix B is located there. Business Council Contract Procurement Committee members will receive an in-depth analysis of the improved terms and condition this week.
Please click here for information on The Business Council’s regulatory agenda.
- Upcoming event
Professional Women in Construction (New York chapter) is hosting a transportation forum on May 20 in New York City. Click here to register and to view details on the agenda.