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July 10, 2006

Council, members urge Governor to OK Power for Jobs extension

The Business Council is urging Governor Pataki to sign into law a new bill extending the state's Power for Jobs and Economic Development Power programs, and is urging the many Council members that participate in the programs to give the Governor the same encouragement.

The bill (S.8440-Wright/A.12013-Rules-Tonko), which the Legislature approved with strong Business Council support, would extend the program through June 2007.

Earlier this year, the Legislature approved an extension of the program as part of the state budget, but Governor Pataki vetoed it, saying that the Legislature failed to provide full funding for the extension. He also cited constitutional concerns rooted in the bill's attempts to make fiscal appropriations.

The veto was overridden, but the Governor said the override was invalid for constitutional reasons.

As a result, said Ken Pokalsky, director of environmental and economic development programs for the Council, both the Pataki administration and the New York Power Authority (NYPA) have said that Power for Jobs will expire at the end of this year unless Albany acts to extend it.

Both the Governor and the Legislature are also appointing an advisory panel to make recommendations for long-term program extension and reform, Pokalsky added.

In addition to extending these programs through mid-2007, this new legislation would authorize NYPA to reimburse Power for Jobs program participants for excessive Power for Jobs power costs incurred during 2006. The bill would also allow manufacturers operating with Power for Jobs contract extensions to opt into the energy rebate savings option under the program.