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June 4, 2002

Council urges lawmakers to extend the Power for Jobs program

The Business Council is urging lawmakers to extend the state's successful Power for Jobs program so contracts for reduced-rate energy that were awarded in the second and third years of the program do not expire.

The Council has initiated a new electronic-advocacy campaign enabling members and others to automatically send notes of support for extending the program from The Business Council's Web site, www.bcnys.org.

Thirty Power for Jobs contracts already expired at the end of May, noted Ken Pokalsky, director of environmental and economic development programs for The Council.

Governor George Pataki, the Senate, and the Assembly have all expressed support for extending the program, Pokalsky noted, and their proposals have been introduced in separate bills.

The Business Council has not specifically supported or opposed any current bill, and is hoping that negotiations will lead to a program extensions that incorporates parts of all of them, Pokalsky said.

Specifically, The Council is urging a program extension that:

The length of the program extension, and the cost of providing an addition three years of benefits, appear to be the most significant open issues related to Power for Jobs legislation, Pokalsky noted.

"A full three-year extension is appropriate and affordable," Pokalsky said. "It would require an allocation of only 37.5 megawatts for 2006 and 2007."

"The 80 program participants affected by this 2006 allocation account for nearly 24,000 new and retained jobs," he said, adding that The Council estimates that the state cost per affected job is only $1,300, he added.

Power for Jobs was created in 1997 with strong Business Council support. In this program, the state provides reduced-rate power to employers that promise to use it to retain existing jobs or create new ones.