For Release — February 2, 2005
TELLS LEGISLATORS WHAT ISSUES WILL AFFECT THEIR 2005 GRADES
ON COUNCIL'S LEGISLATIVE REPORT CARD, THE 'VOTE FOR JOBS INDEX'
ALBANY—A responsible and timely state budget and cost-cutting reforms to Medicaid and workers' compensation will be among the key legislative priorities on which state lawmakers will be graded on The Business Council's 2005 legislative report card, the Council has told all state legislators.
In a letter send to all 212 state legislators last week, Business Council President Daniel B. Walsh informed legislators of the Council's plans to continue its legislative report card in 2005. That report card, known as the Vote for Jobs Index, is available at www.voteforjobsnewyork.com.
The index, launched in September of 2004, grades all legislators individually on their actions (or inactions) on issues important to businesses.
"Legislators must know that New York's businesses and taxpayers are watching them and evaluating their results," Walsh said. "New Yorkers will hold lawmakers accountable for their actions and inactions, good and bad, that impact the state's business climate. And we're looking for improved outcomes, not just changes in process."
Legislators will be given additional details on the legislative report cards as the session progresses, the letter said. “We welcome the opportunity to discuss these issues with you in detail, and look forward to working with you on this pro-jobs legislative agenda,” the letter said.
In 2005, the Council will grade legislators on a variety of priorities in six key categories, including:
- Tax and budget issues. The Council is asking lawmakers
to: balance the 2005-06 budget with no delay in the phase-out of 2003
tax increases and no additional tax increases; adopt an on-time budget
that restrains the state-funds spending increase to the rate of inflation
or less; implement the single sales factor-based corporate taxation;
and create a real-property tax tribunal.
- Medicaid reform. The Council is asking lawmakers
to enact cost-cutting Medicaid reforms with the immediate goal of stabilizing
Medicaid costs and avoiding further cost increases for localities.
- Economic development issues. The Council is advocating:
a strengthened Empire Zones program; an extension, revision, or replacement
of the state's successful Power for Jobs program; re-adoption of the
Article X power-plant siting law and Article VII reform; extension of
replacement-power allocations; and re-authorization of the state’s
- Employee benefits. The Council is asking legislators
to enact cost-saving workers’ compensation reforms, to change
the calculations used for assessments, and to reject proposals for “stand-alone”
The Council would also like legislators to: renew programs under the Health Care Reform Act (HCRA) in a way that ensures that the system is more affordable and accountable; allow insurers to sell consumer-driven health insurance plans; and oppose new health-insurance mandates and “play-or-pay” taxes.
- Tort reform. The Council is asking legislators to
repeal vicarious liability and adopt “safe-place-to-work”
- Business mandates and restrictions: Legislators should reject penalties or restrictions on outsourcing activities and reject restrictive “privacy” policies, including restrictions on spyware.
On the 2004 report card, three of 210 state legislators received a grade of A on the index in recognition of their support of policies that would improve New York's business climate. Sixty-three legislators earned a B; 132 received a C; and 12 earned a D. No legislators received a grade of F.
The 2004 index, along with an explanation of the grades received by each legislator, is available at www.voteforjobsnewyork.com.