For Release — Tuesday, February 7, 2006
COUNCIL TELLS LEGISLATORS WHAT ISSUES WILL AFFECT THEIR 2006 GRADES ON COUNCIL'S LEGISLATIVE REPORT CARD, THE 'VOTE FOR JOBS INDEX'
ALBANY, N.Y.—Immediate business tax relief and meaningful workers' compensation reforms are among the key legislative priorities on which state lawmakers will be graded on The Business Council's 2006 legislative report card, the Council has told all state legislators.
The Council sent letters to all 212 state legislators with a publication called Ahead of the Curve, which spells out the Council’s priorities. The letters outlined the Council's plans for developing and publishing grades to evaluate legislators' success enacting policies that will improve New York State's business climate and competitiveness.
The index, launched in September of 2004, grades all legislators individually on their actions (or inactions) both on specific bills and on general policy issues that are important to businesses. On the 2005 report card, 19 legislators earned a grade of A, 130 received a grade of B, 56 got a grade of C, and three got a grade of D.
“In 2006, we have an extraordinary opportunity to promote long-term improvements in New York State’s economic climate,” the letters to legislators said. "Our members see the Vote for Jobs Index as an important tool in our pro-jobs advocacy efforts, and have urged us to build upon our previous efforts."
The letters told lawmakers that they would be given additional details on the legislative report cards as the session progresses. Legislators' grades may reflect their actions on bills and issues that have not yet emerged in the legislative session.
Legislators were sent a copy of Ahead of the Curve, a document spelling out how New York can succeed in an innovation-driven economy. That publication spells out a number of legislative priorities that will be considered in developing report-card grades. These include:
- Adopt growth-oriented tax reforms.
- Enact cost-cutting workers' compensation reforms.
- Support merit-based state scholarships to encourage New York's best and brightest high-school graduates to earn bachelor's degrees in science or math along with teachers' certification and make a commitment to teach at least five years in a New York State public school.
- Restrain the growth in health-care costs.
- Continue support for high academic standards and standardized tests based on them.
- Provide new support for basic research at New York's public and private universities.
- Redirect the state's economic-development incentives towards those identified by the private sector as most promising for each region's future.
- Rein in debt, spending, and taxes at state and local levels.
- Address New York State's high costs of energy.
- Reduce unnecessary liability costs.
- Give Upstate special opportunities to reduce these costs.