Zack Hutchins
Director of Communications

For Release — Thursday, October 19, 2006


ALBANY—New York State legislators generally scored lower on The Business Council's annual legislative report card than they did last year.

On the report card, the "Vote for Jobs Index," six legislators received a grade of A (down from 19 last year), 24 received a grade of B (compared to 130 last year), 108 earned a grade of C (compared to 56 last year), and 67 who received a grade of D (compared to three last year). In addition, six state legislators received a grade of F; there were no Fs given out on last year's report card.

"Grades are lower for legislators this year because the Legislature did fewer positive things and more negative things for New York's business climate this year compared to last," said Daniel B. Walsh, president and CEO of The Business Council. "It gives me no pleasure to announce this year’s index."

The Vote for Jobs Index is designed to help citizens and business evaluate the voting records of individual legislators on issues that affect the health of New York’s business climate.

High-scoring legislators include: Senator James Wright (R-Watertown), who championed legislation to extend the state’s economic-development power programs; Senator George Winner (R-Elmira), Senator Raymond Meier (R-Oneida County), Senator James Alesi (R-Monroe County, and Assemblyman Joe Morelle (D-Monroe County), who each led legislative efforts to reform workers' compensation; Assemblyman Brian Kolb (R-Canandaigua), who led the Assembly Republican’s pro-manufacturing agenda; and Assemblyman Robert Oaks (R-Wayne County), who, with Assemblyman Kolb, had the most consistent pro-business voting record of any state legislator.

How grades are determined: Legislators' grades on the Vote for Jobs Index reflect their actions or inactions on bills that address legislative priorities identified by The Council earlier this year.

Legislators earned points for a vote that is consistent with The Council's position and lost points for votes at odds with The Council's position. Additional points could be awarded to (or taken away from) legislators who sponsored and championed bills of interest to The Council. If legislators had no record on a priority issue, they received a "0" on that issue. This is designed to address the fact that many priority issues are never addressed because relevant bills are not allowed onto the floor for a vote.

Issues considered on this report card: Twelve issues were considered in the 2006 report card, including some bills that the Council favored and others that the Council opposed. Legislators' grades reflect their stances on a number of bills and issues. These issues include: broad business tax reform; spending restraint; workers' comp reform; proposals to mandate mental-health coverage in insurance policies; sweeping new health-insurance mandates in so-called "Wal-Mart" bills; union-driven and union-friendly changes to the state's Taylor Law; funding for scholarships for math and science majors who pledge to become public-school teachers; creation of a new law to expedite the siting of new power plants; extensions of the state's Power for Jobs and Economic-Development Power programs; debt reform; and a bill to give employers who join self-insured trusts to buy workers' comp a more equitable mechanism for paying mandatory surcharges.