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For Release — Feb. 1, 2010

Business Council urges legislature to restrain spending in budget testimony

ALBANY— “Gov. David Paterson's Executive Budget takes an important step in the right direction for New York by showing restraint in new spending and restraint in new taxes. While not perfect, it is being positively received by many major private sector employers within our membership,” said Kenneth Adams, president and CEO of The Business Council of New York State, Inc. in budget testimony to the state legislature's fiscal committees.

“Our basic message today is to urge the Senate and Assembly to follow the Governor's lead and adopt a no-growth budget, and avoid adding spending and taxes that are simply unaffordable to our moribund economy, to our businesses and to New York State residents,” added Adams. “This restraint is essential not only to bring the state's fiscal house into order, but to improve New York's economic climate and promote private sector investment and job growth.”

“The spending cuts proposed by Governor Paterson are not as aggressive as we in the private sector had hoped, nor as aggressive as New York State needs,” said Adams. “While the Governor's proposal – if approved by the legislature – would produce a balanced budget for the new state fiscal year beginning April 1, it falls short of solving the state's structural imbalance between spending and income, leaving the state with a projected total of $30 billion in deficits over the following three budget years. As a matter of fiscal reality, further reductions in state spending are required.”

The Business Council testimony strongly opposed increases in state taxes on health care and energy and telecommunications services, key cost issues for the state's business community. The Council also opposed new taxes on soft drinks and cigarettes.

The testimony also opposed reinstatement of prior approval for health insurance rates which fails to deal with the real issues driving up costs. It also opposed marketing restrictions on the pharmaceutical industry which would impair communication between the industry and doctors. It would also discourage investment by the industry in New York.

The testimony supported the sale of wine in grocery stores. It also supported mandate relief for local governments and school districts and a property tax cap.

The testimony also called for a more robust economic development initiative to encourage job retention and capital investment by businesses in New York.

The full testimony is available here.

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