Governor Cuomo's 2018 State of the State Message

Kenneth J. Pokalsky, Vice President
January 10, 2018

On January 3, Governor Cuomo gave his annual State of the State message. The Governor’s press release and summary is available here. The video and transcript of his presentation is available here. The 376 page PDF version is available here.

The Business Council issued the following statement and summary:

For the state’s business community, Governor Cuomo’s State of the State message addressed several critical needs, including continued investment in workforce development and public infrastructure. However, the Governor said too little about making the state more economically competitive, especially for upstate where job growth continues to lag. We appreciate the potential impacts that federal tax reform may have on some state taxpayers, and look forward to working with the Governor and the Legislature on how to adjust our tax code to work better under the new federal reality. But, we have major concerns with a new payroll tax, and with increasing business taxes to offset reductions in federal taxes – especially since New York’s 2014 corporate tax reform legislation, pushed by The Business Council and championed by Governor Cuomo, has finally made our business tax climate more competitive among the states. We believe that the prudent path is a comprehensive response to address our budget deficit and federal tax changes. New York must examine all major categories of state spending, including the largest - Medicaid and education - and address other long-recognized cost drivers including Scaffold Law. As the Governor and the Legislature begin to tackle what will surely be a difficult budget season, we ask that they remember these simple words, “first, do no harm.”

The State of the State message addressed a wide range of issues of interest to Business Council members. The following provides a road-map to key issues in the message (with page numbers referencing the PDF version).

We have listed these according to those we do or are likely to support, and those that do or may raise concerns for Council members. Many of these will be the subject of specific legislative proposals in the Governor’s Executive Budget, due out on January 16.

We welcome any questions or comments you have on these or other aspects of the State of the State message.

“Economic growth” as one of two “pillars” of 2018 proposals. 27 Limit political advocacy by private sector (i.e., “LLC ‘loophole.” 24, 336
Promote reductions in real property taxes. 29 Legislation to prohibit employer “forced arbitration” policies related to sexual harassment cases. 42
Increased investments in transportation infrastructure (specific projects). 30 Mandatory annual “sexual harassment” reporting by state contractors. 43
Continuation of regional economic council process. 31 Group health plan coverage mandate for contraceptives. 46
Establishing a child care task force involving providers, business and labor. 109 “Call for” state common retirement fund investments in companies with “adequate female and minority representation” on board and in management. 53
Funding for additional early college high schools. 130 Extension and expansion (to municipalities) of MWBE contracting program, based on 2016 state disparity study. 55
Funding for expanded computer science programs in primary and secondary schools. 132 Direct the Labor Department to hold hearings on elimination of minimum wage tip credits. 92
Expanded access to advanced placement programs in rural and high poverty areas. 135 Develop a plan to restructure the state’s current income and payroll tax system. 149
Engage a collaborative process, including business, to address state’s tax code to address impact of federal tax reform. 149 Adopt state-level mechanism to address federal “carried interest loophole.” 149
Incentives for municipal shared services to promote real property tax reductions. 152 Develop 1500 MW of energy storage by 2025; commit $200 million from the Green Bank for storage-related investments; $60 million from NYSERDA for storage programs. 215
Increase maximum tax credit under the state youth jobs program. 158 Procurement of 800 MW of offshore wind generation; $15 million for related job training. 219
Increased funding for workforce development programs focused on emerging fields. 159 “Call for” no further common retirement fund investments in companies with “significant fossil fuel-related activities,” appoint a CRF “de-carbonization” advisory board. 223
Improve coordination of workforce programs, adopt a “one-stop-shop” for business seeking WFD assistance, apply data-based approach to target WFD funds. 162 Take “enforcement actions” against pharmaceutical opioid distributors. 240
Continued funding through regional economic development councils. 168 Limit prior authorization and co-pays for insurance coverage for outpatient addition treatment; develop new regulatory mandates for related treatments. 242
Promote “industrial hemp” sector. 174 Propose legislation to mandate personal care product manufactures provide web-based information on product ingredients. 246
Expand the NYS Grown & Certified agricultural commodities promotion program. 175 Require health plans to provide members with additional information on pricing and out-of-pocket costs. 247
Improve and expand the “Taste NY” program. 178 Extend Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) to “peaker” power plants; further reduce allowable emissions under RGGI. 293
Creation of the “Photonics Attraction Fund” focusing on Finger Lakes area. 183 Adopt regulations to end the use of coal for electric power production by 2020. 296
Additional funding for broadband deployment. 188 Develop comprehensive state plan for extreme weather resiliency. 299
Promote legislation to encourage testing of autonomous vehicles. 196 Adopt new energy efficiency targets. 303
Develop a central New York “inland port.” 207 Development a strategy and incentives for the reduce HFC use and emissions. 307
Expand electric vehicle charging stations. 225 Develop “comprehensive strategies” to reduce GHG emissions from the transportation sector. 310
Promote agricultural sector through a Center for Excellence on Food Research, a new Bio-refinery center, and others. 263 Adopt public financing of elections. 338
Project and/or region-specific proposals, including Finger Lakes photonics fund, improvements at Stewart Airport, Red Hook area redevelopment, and others. VARIOUS Establish the office of Chief Procurement Officer and recommend other procurement process reforms. 342
    Prohibit political contributions by contract bidders to officials in the branch of government conducting the procurement. 343
    Issue an executive order to require state “suppliers” have adequate cyber security. 358