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For Release — January 8, 2009

Business Council says budget needs to reflect State of the State message

ALBANY— The Business Council of New York State supports Gov. David Paterson's call for government reform to provide taxpayers relief, specifically the property tax cap, mandate relief and reform to make local governments more efficient.

“Overall, Gov. Paterson's State of the State message outlined an ambitious agenda to spur private sector investment in New York, including investment in our energy infrastructure. While we agree with many of the Governor's ideas we are concerned that his budget proposal creates roadblocks to that plan. The tax and fee increases called for in his budget proposal will make it difficult to accomplish his agenda,” said Kenneth Adams, president & CEO of The Business Council of New York State.

“While we applaud the Governor's call to build our energy infrastructure so that we can increase supply and lower costs, the nearly $700 million in new energy taxes in the proposed budget will discourage the private investment needed to make that vision real,” added Adams.

“The Governor's call to remove unnecessary taxes and regulations to encourage private investment is what New York needs. But, the budget contains $5 billion in tax and fee increases that run counter to that plan,” said Adams.

The myriad of tax increases in the budget proposal will stifle the economy rather than encourage private sector growth. Among the most damaging proposals are the retro-active changes to the Empire Zone program that will damage companies in the program and have a chilling effect on future economic development efforts. Taxes on insurance products, consumer goods and other economic sectors will also make New York a more expensive place to live and do business.

The Business Council is also encouraged to hear the Governor mention the need to remove unnecessary regulations. Well-intentioned but burdensome regulations drive up the cost of doing business in New York and discourage investment. This is true in virtually every sector of the economy. We urge the Governor to create a process to evaluate the real costs of new and existing regulations.

“The state needs to focus first and foremost on controlling government spending. The budget proposal does not restrain spending enough,” said Adams. “New York is facing this fiscal crisis because it has spent too much and taxed too much for far too long. Placing new onerous tax burdens on individual industries or sectors, many of which are already under great financial stress in this economy, is the wrong response. It will dig New York into an even deeper hole in terms of our competitive position with other states,” concluded Adams.

The Business Council looks forward to working with the Governor and legislature to shape a budget that leads to the brighter future the State of the State message describes.

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