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January 10, 2001

Senate energy plan urges new tax cuts
Bruno emphasizes need for more power plants

The Senate majority has proposed an energy plan that it says would cut taxes by nearly half a billion dollars, lowering energy costs and reducing homeowners' and businesses' heat bills by encouraging conservation.

But Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, at the press conference at which the proposal was announced, forcefully rejected the idea of new legislative actions to reregulate New York's energy markets. Instead, he said, New York should address concerns about its supply of energy by siting new power plants, and by doing so faster.

Senator Bruno said that the Senate would shortly release proposals designed to achieve this goal and to provide additional incentives to increase energy supply.

The Senate Majority plan would:

Senator Bruno announced the plan along with Senate James Wright (R-C-I, Watertown), chair of the Senate Energy & Telecommunications Committee.

"The Senate's messages today are welcome additions to the ongoing dialogue about energy, and can be the foundation of very constructive legislative decisions," said Business Council President Daniel B. Walsh. "We applaud the Senate's commitment to reducing energy costs while expediting the siting of new power plants that New York unquestionably needs."

Walsh said The Council would urge lawmakers to consider extending repeal of the GRT to commercial businesses as well. "The benefits of this idea will be even greater if commercial businesses, which provide more than half of the jobs in the state, also receive this tax cut," he said.

Senator Bruno noted that energy use in New York had increased 12 percent in the last few years, but that New York has approved no new power plants since 1994.

In dismissing the idea of legislative action to reregulate New York energy markets, Senator Bruno noted that such actions could leave New York in the same predicament that California was in last summer. California last summer endured a series of power "brownouts" attributed to a shortage of capacity in their system. Prices in California have increased significantly as a result of supply shortages, but legislative interference with markets there has put utilities in a crisis because they are not permitted to recover the actual costs of energy.