January 30, 2004
Business Council adopts 2004 legislative priorities package
The Business Council has adopted policy priorities for the 2004 legislative session that emphasize opposition to new taxes, support for energy policies that ensure an ample supply of affordable and reliable electricity, workers' compensation reform, steps to improve small businesses' access to affordable health care, and more user-friendly environmental policies.
The broad policy priorities were set by the board in November, 2003. The Council's Government Affairs Council (GAC) approved the detailed agenda on January 20.
“The biggest priority we have is to fight against business tax increases,” said Elliott Shaw, The Council’s director of government affairs. “The Council wants to make it clear to lawmakers that more tax hikes are unacceptable.”
The Council's taxation priorities include fighting the "New Jersey Plan" of tax increases, a possible stock transfer tax, and and a new "pay or play" proposal to tax businesses that do not provide health insurance benefits. Such proposals are already being touted by pressure groups that support higher spending. (For information on new pressure for the New Jersey Plan of business tax increases, please visit www.bcnys.org/whatsnew/2004/0130fpi.htm. For details on the "pay or play" proposal, see www.bcnys.org/whatsnew/2004/0113mcd.htm.)
“We were successful last year in our efforts to fight a proposal pushed by spending advocates that would enact a plan similar to disastrous 2002 legislation in New Jersey,” Shaw said. “The Council will continue to fight this, and any other proposals, that push massive tax hikes onto business in New York.”
The taxation priorities also include:
proposed tax reform/economic stimulus package that targets
key economic sectors in New York State and includes a single
sales factor, investment tax credit for the securities and
insurance industry, an expansion of certified capital companies,
clarification of tax treatment of charges for telecommunications
services, and proposes parity for all telecommunications
carriers regarding tax dividends.
“Fair Real Property Taxes” Act that would be
similar to the role of the State Tax Tribunal to include
business challenges of local real property tax assessments.
The Council's priority agenda also includes:
cost and reliability: The Council would like lawmakers
to reform the manner in which power transmission and distribution
facilities are treated under the state’s real property
taxation laws. The Council is also urging lawmakers to push
back on regulatory initiatives and promote siting of additional
power plant capacity.
Compensation: The Council’s Workers’
Compensation proposals include: a reduction of state assessments
that support the “second injury fund;” a reduction
of permanent partial awards by establishing scheduled awards
for a broader range of permanent partial injuries; and adoption
of objective medical guidelines.
Care: The Council is proposing new programs to
help employers drive health care system change at the local
level and reduction in Medicaid costs as well as advocating
a small business foundation health insurance plan free of
some state insurance mandates.
Development Initiatives: The Council is proposing
several economic development initiatives including: investment-based
RPT benefit that would promote and reward capital investment
and job retention in the manufacturing sector; a “Power
for Jobs” program that provides reduced cost electric
power to business that have significant power loads and
commit to specific job creation or retention targets; and
reform of the state’s empire zone that assure benefits
are awarded to locally significant development projects.
The Council is also continuing its support of key high tech
investments that will shape the state’s economic future.
The Council is promoting effective and efficient implementation
of the state’s brownfield redevelopment program and
is working with the Department of Environmental Conservation
and the Attorney General’s office on implementation
of federal “new source review” reforms. The
Council is also supporting measures to expedite project
review which would apply to the Department of Environmental
Conservation's rules for reviewing permit actions.
In addition to these policy priorities, The Council’s government affairs staff has prepared a detailed seven-page document that outlines Council priorities on specific pieces of legislation and other specific priorities. That document is at www.bcnys.org/inside/04legprogram.htm.