Blueprint for a Better New York - 2018 Legislative Advocacy Agenda
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January 17, 2018
Ken Pokalsky

2018 will be a critical year for New York State, with significant financial and economic challenges to be addressed, and with statewide and legislative elections that could alter the state’s future political direction.

First and foremost is a state budget deficit approaching $5 billion. That deficit, coupled with the recent tax reform legislation passed by Washington lawmakers, and other expected legislative action, or inaction, from D.C. will require state policymakers to make some daunting choices. Those hard choices will be made even more difficult because this is an election year, a time when lawmakers typically like to provide good news to their constituents and favored special interests.

While this all may sound like a bad thing, we believe this confluence of events provides New York a real opportunity to address the many ways our spending is out of line with our fellow states. We need to evaluate why our Medicaid expenses exceed those of Texas and Florida combined. Similarly, we need to reassess our education spending and determine why New York is one of the leaders in per-pupil spending, yet falls toward the middle or bottom in most assessment rankings.

Lawmakers must also look at areas where we have policies that stifle economic growth, innovation and job creation. Reforming items like the Scaffold Law, prevailing wage mandates and others will allow our state to blunt the impact of the coming loss in personal income tax revenue and put us on more equal footing with other states.

We also call on our leaders at the state and national levels to demand New York receive more of its fair share of federal spending, especially for infrastructure. Currently, we are the largest donor state, contributing nearly $50 billion more in taxes to Washington than we receive in the form of federal spending.

The following pages lay out The Business Council’s “Blueprint for a Better New York,” reflecting the opportunities and concerns expressed by our diverse membership. We aren’t saying we have all the answers. However, we are certain that taking a critical look at our state’s legacy of high spending and examining whether we are truly receiving outcomes deserving of that level of investment will benefit all New Yorkers. Federal action and our own precarious budget situation have given us an opportunity that we cannot let pass. New York has many great things to offer. From world-class public and private higher education institutions, a diverse workforce, abundant water resources, and much more ― we are well-positioned to compete against our fellow states. All we need to do is stop getting in our own way.

Heather C. Briccetti, Esq.
President and CEO
The Business Council of New York State, Inc.

Proactive Growth Agenda

Significant issues on our proactive Legislative Agenda for 2018 include:

Significant Areas of Concern

Each session, the state’s business community faces a large number of adverse proposals that add costs, restrictions or mandates to private sector activities. Issues of significant concern for 2018 include:

2018 Legislative/Regulatory Program

The following provides our detailed legislative and regulatory program agenda for 2018.

Campaign Finance Reform

The call for campaign finance reform has been renewed in the wake of additional scandals involving state officials. Many proposals to “fix corruption” focus on creating a taxpayer-funded campaign finance system, similar to New York City’s, and do not address changes necessary for true reform and parity amongst all parties impacted by elections. The Business Council:

Construction Council

Significant investment in public infrastructure is necessary to ensure the efficient flow of goods, services and people. Rebuilding New York’s aging infrastructure requires alternatives to the standard approach of financing, constructing and operating our transportation systems. The Business Council:

Consumer Affairs

New York needs to promote its consumer marketplace and avoid imposing restrictions on materials, goods and services in interstate commerce. The Business Council:

Contract Procurement

The process of selling goods and services to state government is increasingly cumbersome, with many businesses, including MWBEs, bypassing this significant business opportunity. Several business-friendly reforms to the procurement process were included in last year’s budget. However, there is more work to be done. To make the procurement process more efficient, The Business Council:

Corporate Governance

It is critical that the state promote public confidence in corporate governance while avoiding mandates that make New York uncompetitive with other states. The Business Council:

Economic Development

As New York works to improve its overall business climate, The Business Council backs measures that support new investments in strategic industries. The Business Council:

Education/Workforce Development

Innovative education models that better prepare students for entrance into college and career are key to our state's future success. The Business Council:


Reducing energy costs and promoting adequate and diverse energy supplies will help support economic growth. With those goals in mind, The Business Council:


New York has a stringent environmental regulatory program that imposes costs and operational restrictions on businesses and impedes capital investment and job growth. To improve the state’s environmental regulatory climate, The Business Council:

Financial Services

In order to promote continued growth and economic activity in the financial services industry, The Business Council:


The cost of health care remains a top concern for all Business Council members. During a time of unknown federal policy changes in healthcare, we are committed to guaranteeing that any New York State response to changes on the federal level are done in a way that will not harm the financial viability of our members. The Business Council:

Labor/Human Resources

Employers need a stable Labor Law environment and the ability to design pay and benefit programs that fit their industry, size, location, profitability and competitive environment. To achieve these objectives, The Business Council:

Legal Reform

A state’s framework and policies for dealing with lawsuits and legal issues can have a significant impact on its overall business climate. To ensure the state’s legal climate is designed to maximize investment and growth, The Business Council:


The manufacturing sector remains a critical component of the state’s economy. It is incumbent on lawmakers to enact policies and regulations that promote growth within this sector. With that in mind, The Business Council:


New York State businesses are affected by an overall uncompetitive tax structure. While recent state-level reforms have provided a streamlined corporate tax system and rate reductions, other provisions of the tax code need to be addressed. To improve the state’s tax competitiveness, The Business Council:


To promote continued reinvestment in New York’s technology and telecommunications sectors, The Business Council:


To support the state’s transportation industry and the statewide transportation infrastructure, The Business Council:

Travel and Tourism

New York has a broad and highly-profitable tourism industry. To help this statewide industry's continued growth, The Business Council:

Unemployment Insurance

All employers pay for the state’s unemployment insurance program. Reforms championed by The Business Council, and enacted in 2013 have brought the state’s UI fund back into solvency. To that end, The Business Council:

Workers’ Compensation

The 2017 session saw the passage of comprehensive workers’ compensation reform spearheaded by The Business Council. We are in the midst of implementing those reforms. With that in mind, The Business Council: