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April 26, 2000

Council asks members to identify post-budget priorities
Lawmakers to resume budget talks in early May; tax cuts remain on table

The Business Council is asking its members to identify the issues they consider top priorities for legislative action after agreement is reached on a state budget.

“Albany’s agenda after a budget is passed offers both risk and opportunity for business,” said Business Council President Daniel B. Walsh.

Members of The Council’s Government Affairs Council have been asked to identify their top three post-budget priorities, he noted.

Expected areas of interest to The Council in post-budget discussions include brownfield remediation, deregulation of commercial insurers, mandate relief and local property taxes, and a variety of bills that could drive up employers’ health costs.

Lawmakers were expected to return to Albany the week of May 1 to resume negotiations on a state budget.

Agreement on a budget was said to be near when formal budget talks were suspended last week just before the Passover holiday began. There had been reports early April 19 that a budget announcement was near, but none was announced.

Before formal talks were shut down, it was widely reported that lawmakers had agreed on a budget with new tax cuts that, when fully phased in, would return $1.3 billion to taxpayers.

This tax-cut agreement was said to include several business priorities, including a phased-in repeal of the state’s gross receipts tax on energy. The repeal would reportedly take effect immediately for manufacturers and be phased in for other customers over five years.

Other business-tax changes are expected to be part of the agreement, but no final details were announced. Planned tax cuts also reportedly included elimination of the marriage-penalty tax, a college-tuition tax credit, and increases in the earned income tax credit and the child-care tax credit.