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The 2011 Voters' Guide Agenda

The Business Council has identified key issues that impact New York State's job climate.

  1. Real property tax cap - BCNYS Support
    S.5856 (Skelos) / A.8518 (Silver)
    Passed both houses and signed by Governor Cuomo
    This legislation imposes a cap of 2% or the CPI increase, whichever is lower, on total real property tax levies imposed by all levels of local government, and on all classes of real property. This legislation will impose much needed fiscal discipline on local taxing jurisdictions by putting effective limits on year-to-year increases in real property tax levies. In addition to providing relief for residents and homeowners, these reforms will help the state's economy and small and large businesses statewide. Real property taxes are a major business cost and a significant anti-competitive factor for New York State's economy. Outside New York City, business pays nearly $9 billion in total property taxes - 40% of the state total, and for many businesses, property taxes are the largest single tax levy they pay. By almost any measure, real property tax burdens and combined state and local taxes in New York are among the highest in the nation.
  2. Medicaid Costs Controls - BCNYS Support
    S.2809-D (Budget) / A.4009-D (Budget)
    Adopted as part of the FY 2011 state budget
    The Council has long supported reductions in the state's $50 billion Medicaid program, the most expensive and expansive of any states'. The budget cut year to year Medicaid spending by just 1 percent, but reformed a number of cost drivers that would have produced dramatic additional spending. It also adopted a Medicaid spending cap that will limit future Medicaid spending growth to the 10-year rolling average of the Medical CPI, currently 4 percent. The budget implements significant reforms including a major expansion of patient-centered medical homes, better control of home health care services, and care management for individuals with complex and continuing health care needs.
  3. Electric Generating Facilities Siting law - BCNYS Support
    S.5844 (Maziarz) / A.8510 (Cahill)
    Passed both houses and signed by Governor Cuomo
    This legislation reinstates the Article X siting law, which expired in 2003, and provides a state level, 12 month approval process for major (more than 25 MW) electric power generating facilities, with a 6 month approval for repowering projects that achieve significant emission reductions. The bill also provides for formal public involvement and intervener funding, and for pre-emption of unreasonably regulations local restrictions. A siting law is seen as an important tool in assuring adequate baseload power generation in all regions of New York State.
  4. "Recharge NY" - BCNYS Support
    S.2810-C / A.4010-C, part CC (Budget)
    Adopted as part of the FY 2011 state budget
    The final budget agreement included a permanent replacement for “Power for Jobs” and related programs. Recharge NY is a 910 MW/year economic development program available for business and certain not for profits statewide, and will provide low cost power allocations, for up to seven years, of blended NYPA hydropower and purchased power.
  5. Excelsior Jobs program improvements - BCNYS Support
    S.2811-C / A.4011-C, Part G
    Adopted as part of the FY 2011 state budget
    The final budget legislation includes several amendments to the Excelsior Jobs program adopted in 2010 that will make the program more effective and more attractive to businesses considering new investments and new jobs in New York State. Changes include: basing its real property tax credit on the post-improvement value of property, rather than its pre-investment value; increasing the RPT credit for years 2 through 5 of the program (to 45, 40, 35 and 30%, respectively), and extending the credit for an additional five years; restructuring the research and development credit to assure that R&D investments receive the full intended value of the Excelsior program's R&D incentive; and changing the calculation of the jobs tax credit to the product of the gross wages of new employees and 6.85% and eliminating the $5,000 per job cap on credits.
  1. Personal income tax increase - BCNYS Oppose
    S.5453 (Avella) / A.7802 (Silver)
    This legislation did not move in either house
    This bill would have imposed a new, upper income personal income tax rate of 8.97%, producing an additional $4 billion in state tax revenues. The Assembly had also proposed an extension of PIT surcharges, which applied at $200,000 of income, as part of their one house budget legislation (A.4011-B, Part T). The Business Council opposes these income tax increases as the wrong approach to balancing the state budget. Significant spending restraint, restructuring major spending programs, and right-sizing state government have to be the focus of the state's gap closing strategy. PIT increases impact businesses through income taxed under the personal income tax through sub-S corporations, partnerships, limited liability corporations and sole proprietors, categories that include many small, entrepreneurial businesses, adversely impact the state's overall business climate and cost structure, and ignore the steep progressivity of the state's existing income tax structure.
  2. Hydrofracking Moratorium - BCNYS Oppose
    S.5592 (Carlucci) / A.7400 (Sweeney)
    This bill passed the Assembly, but did not move in the Senate
    New York State is undergoing an extensive review of the technical and environmental issues related to use of hydraulic fracturing in natural gas extraction, a technology that would be used in developing the Marcellus Shale formation, and has proposed a stringent, comprehensive regulatory program to allow for permits to be issued. Despite these efforts, this legislation would impose an arbitrary one year moratorium on any such permits. Marcellus shale exploration will produce significant economic and energy benefits for the state once authorized.
  3. Autism Spectrum Disorder Insurance Coverage Mandates - BCNYS Oppose
    S.4005 (Fuschillo) / A.6305 (Morelle)
    Passed both houses and signed by Governor Cuomo
    The Business Council of New York State opposes this bill, as it imposes an open-ended insurance coverage mandate on employer-provided group health insurance plans, with no relation to ensuring coverage is provided to the extent that such services are medically necessary within the covered benefits for other diseases and conditions under that health plan. The bill provides no requirement that treatments be evidence based, peer reviewed and clinically proven; it increases costs on taxpayers who fund the employer share for public employee health benefits; and will increase costs for individuals and employers in NYS, further eroding health insurance coverage in the state. Similar legislation was vetoed by then Governor Paterson in 2010.
  4. Private cause of action for an alleged "abusive work environment" - BCNYS Oppose
    S.4289 (Savino) / A. 4258 (Englebright)
    This bill did not move in either house of the legislature
    This bill would establish an open-ended civil cause of action for employees who claim that they are subject to an “abusive work environment,” despite already sufficient federal and state safeguards such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as amended by the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act, and the New York Human Rights Law. Taken together, these laws already provide broad protection to employees who experience abusive treatment in the workplace on the basis of race, color, creed, gender, national origin, age, religion, sexual orientation, military status, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, domestic violence victim status, marital status and conviction or arrest records.
  5. Erosion of Workers' Comp reform/cost savings provisions - BCNYS Oppose
    A.5183 (Simotas) / S.3749 (Robach) - Restrictions on Workers’ Comp Pharmaceutical Networks
    Passed the Assembly, but did not move in the Senate
    This legislation would have reversed one of the cost reductions included in the 2007 workers' compensation reform package. In instances where an employer has entered into a contract with a pharmacy network to supply medicines to workers' comp claimants, this bill would allow an injured employee to utilize any pharmacy that matched the state’s “published prices,” regardless of whether such pharmacy was in the employer’s network. The 2007 reform legislation provided significant increases in workers' compensation benefits, the cost of which would be offset by system reforms. Pharmaceutical networks were one such system reform, through which “volume discounts” could be offered to employers and claimants that were part of the network. This legislation would fully negate any benefit from this reform by eliminating the basis on which networks would provide discounts in the first place.
  6. Erosion of workers' comp reform / medical guidelines - BCNYS Oppose
    S.3741 (Maziarz) / A.6294 (Wright) - Restrictions on use of Medical Treatment Guidelines
    This bill passed the Assembly, was not voted on in the Senate
    This bill would have prohibited New York's recently adopted Medical Treatment Guidelines from being applied to workers injured prior to its adoption. The adoption of objective medical treatment guidelines for injured workers was a major component of the 2007 workers' compensation reform legislation jointly supported by business and labor. These guidelines present a standard of care, identifying specific medical treatments that are considered appropriate and effective, and applying the best available evidence gained from the scientific method to clinical decision making. An arbitrary timeframe upon which a standard of medical care may be applied contradicts the very purpose of a standard of care, and is contrary to the objective of providing appropriate care and avoiding costs for demonstrably ineffective treatments.

Heather Briccetti,
Board Members, President's Council, General Council/ Corporate Governance, Legal Reform

Tom Minnick, ext. 210
Human Resources, Labor, Construction and Transportation

Lev Ginsburg, ext. 207
Health care, Workers' Compensation and Unemployment Insurance

Ken Pokalsky, ext. 205
Legislative/regulaory reform, Economic Development, Taxation and Manufacturing

Darren Suarez, ext. 245
Energy, Environment, Occupational Safety & Health

The Business Council of New York State, Inc., is the primary advocacy group for business in New York State, supported by more than 3,000 Business Council members and their approximately 1 million employees. We serve our members' interests, and promote the economic health of the state of New York, by: