March 19, 2001
Senate budget resolution: tax cuts, R&D investments, Superfund reform
The Senate Majority's 2001-01 budget resolution includes a $1.8 billion tax-cut package, investments in economic development in biotechnology, an expansion of the state's Empire Zone program, and a major new proposal for Superfund refinancing and reform.
Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno released information on the resolution at a Monday press conference.
"We must continue to return surplus revenues to the taxpayers and reinvest them into programs that will make New York more economically competitive, especially in the areas of biotechnology and high-tech research and development," Senator Bruno said.
The Senate's plan would increase General-Fund spending by $516 million over the $42 billion estimate in the Governor's Executive Budget. The Senate's proposal also would increase all-funds spending to $84.1 billion, up 6.2 percent over the 00-01 fiscal year. The Governor has proposed all-funds spending of $83.6 billion.
The Senate's budget resolution includes:
- A $500 million investment in research and development and economic development in biotechnology through a program dubbed "GEN*NY*SIS." This program would allocate $150 million for basic and applied research, $250 million for technology development and transfer, $95 million for business development, and $5 million for administrative costs. Eight GEN*NY*SIS "Centers of Excellence" projects would be funded in different regions.
- Tax cuts and economic development incentives worth $1.8 billion, including: $190 million to expand New York's 52 existing Empire Zones (regions in which employers that invest in facilities can qualify for tax credits and other incentives), $135 million to create 14 new zones, and $45 million for tax incentives within the eight GEN*NY*SIS "Centers of Excellence" regions.
Tax cuts in the Senate plan include: adoption of the single-sales factor for manufacturers (valued at $35 million), elimination of the state's alternative minimum tax ($50 million), various energy tax cuts ($485 million), and a tax credit to encourage health insurance coverage for small businesses ($235 million).
Adoption of the single-sales factor is The Council's top tax-cut priority for 2001. The Governor, the Senate, and the Assembly all have advanced various proposals to adopt it. Elimination of the alternative minimum tax is also a Council priority because the tax often neutralizes much of the benefit of job-creation incentives by nullifying much of the tax relief those incentives are designed to provide.
- A restoration of $625 million in funding for the state Highway and Bridge Capital Plan and the MTA Capital Plan.
- An increase of $925 million aid to education.
- Restoration of $210 million in Medicaid cuts proposed by the Governor to slow the growth of Medicaid. The Senate proposal is to target this aid to hospitals and nursing homes.
- A budget reform plan that calls for earlier submission of the Executive budget, a three-way preview of proposals in major spending areas such as Medicaid and education, and a change in the fiscal year from April 1 to May 1.
- Creation of a new "Capital Construction and Debt Reserve" fund, which would increase the state's reserve funds to more than $4 billion by the end of the fiscal year.
Superfund refinancing and reform: The Senate also proposed an approach to Superfund refinancing and reform that includes a use-based approach to site remediation and a more formal program for brownfield cleanup and redevelopment, including targeted tax credits.
The Senate also endorsed expansion of the Superfund program to include hazardous substance sites. The Senate rejected several provisions of the Executive Budget proposal, including: new industry fees, petroleum fees, and fees imposed on brownfield projects; new enforcement provisions, including "treble damages" and state-level natural resource damage claims. Instead of new fees, the Senate proposed dedicating existing corporate franchise tax revenues to support the Superfund program