Building on a legacy of success: The 2015 New York State Legislative Session

The 2015 legislative session was a positive one for the state’s employer community. Both the final state budget and the end-of-session negotiations produced pro-business reforms, while avoiding significant, adverse bills that would impose new costs, restrictions or mandates on the private sector. A fifth consecutive on-time, low-growth budget included a variety of tax and program reforms and dedicated a significant portion of “windfall” funds to economic development projects. (PDF)

We Supported

  • KeepthecapNY: We strongly supported the extension of the state’s real property tax levy cap for four years, through 2019. This legislation also included amendments to promote the use of PILOT agreements for economic development projects, while successfully opposing proposals that would significantly weaken the cap.

  • Additional business tax reforms: Legislation brought New York City’s corporate tax code into conformance with beneficial state reforms adopted in 2014, while rejecting proposals that would have imposed new tax liabilities on upstate manufacturers and other businesses.

  • Brownfield project reform: We led efforts to extend and reform the state’s highly successful brownfield cleanup and redevelopment program for ten years and limit the number of projects eligible for the tangible property credit. The revamped program will feature a fast-track approval process, restructured redevelopment tax credits, and waste fee exemptions for remedial wastes.

  • Contract Procurement Reform: We helped negotiate reforms to the state’s contract procurement process to make doing business with the state more streamlined and transparent for bidders.

  • P-Tech expansion: Through the state budget, we helped secure $3 million in additional support for a third round of P-TECH school designations. To date, 26 P-TECH high schools have been launched, serving 12,000 students statewide, and with local support from their local business community.

We Successfully Opposed

  • New/increased taxes: We helped stop approval of a $70 million increase in state taxes on employer-provided health plans, ostensibly to pay operating costs of the state’s health insurance exchange, and a proposed $60 million increase in taxes on wireless communication services.

  • Minimum wage: Even before full implementation of a three step increase adopted in 2013, the Governor proposed to increase the statewide minimum wage to $10.50, and to $11.50 downstate. The Assembly introduced legislation to go to $15 downstate and $12.60 elsewhere. These proposals would have added between $3 and $5 billion to employers’ labor costs.

  • Product restrictions and mandates: A new state level program to approve and restrict the use of materials in “childrens’ products”; state-specific label requirements on soft drinks; restrictions on the marketing of various goods and services (ranging from store gift cards to contact lenses); and new warranty mandates on electronic products manufacturers.

  • Tax “enforcement” initiatives: We helped defeat proposals to: impose sales tax on certain business-to-business transactions; impose new sales tax collection requirements on “marketplace providers” doing online sales; and allow for business permits and professional licenses to be denied based on tax compliance issues.

  • Further restrictions on political advocacy: Under the banner of “reform,” a number of proposals would have made it increasingly difficult for the private sector to support candidates that support a pro-growth agenda.

The Business Council advocates for business all year

The Business Council’s advocacy team focuses on business issues before the New York State Legislature and its regulatory agencies. However, our member support efforts go beyond lobbying on legislation and proposed rulemaking. We help businesses – especially small businesses – deal with regulatory compliance issues. We also support Business Council members involved in litigation where cases will impact the broader business community, such as inappropriate use of the False Claims Act (NY v. Sprint Nextel Corp.) and the wrongful disclosure of trade secrets (Verizon New York, Inc. v. New York State Public Service Commission (NY)).

We also collaborate with the U.S. Chamber, National Association of Manufacturers, The Council on State Taxation and other national partners to weigh in on federal issues of importance to New York’s business community. Our experienced lobby team works on a wide range of cost-of-doing business issues that impact New York’s private sector employers and their bottom line.