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July 10, 2000

How The Business Council fared on its top 2000 priorities

Here is a look on legislative action in 2000 on The Business Council's top legislative priorities for 2000.

Gross receipts tax: A strong Council campaign, including "e-advocacy," persuaded lawmakers to repeal employers' gross receipts tax and significantly reduce other ratepayers' GRT. Repeal is effective Jan. 1, 2000 for manufacturers; for other businesses, it will phase out by January 2005.

Education: The Council continued to promote more accountability and higher standards for schools, teachers, and students. The Council convinced the state to reject proposals to ease or postpone academic standards. And data on schools' quality and spending that The Council helped make public has increased attention on school quality.

Workers' comp: The broad workers' comp reform urged by The Council did not pass. But lawmakers passed a Council-backed bill to loosen investment restrictions on the state Insurance Fund and rejected several bills that would have increased comp costs.

Fiscal restraint: Lawmakers reacted to the budget surplus with a budget that increases spending by 5.6 percent, more than twice the inflation rate. However, they also expanded the state's debt reduction reserve from $250 million to $750 million, and passed a debt-reform bill.

Property tax reduction through mandate relief: Albany has not yet considered any proposal to reduce New York's local property through comprehensive state mandate relief (e.g., repeal of the Wicks mandate).

Tort reform: No comprehensive tort reform was passed. The Council again helped defeat "HMO liability," which would encourage lawsuits in disputes over insurance coverage. Both houses passed a trial lawyer-supported bill to permit higher contingency fees in malpractice cases. And so on.