Zack Hutchins
Director of Communications

For Release — May 20, 2015

Business Council calls for immediate phaseout of 18-a energy tax
Latest DFS settlement funds should be directed to the immediate phaseout of the 18-a utility tax

ALBANY, N.Y.—The Business Council of New York State, Inc. is calling on the Governor and the Legislature to direct a portion of the now more than $1.5 billion in unbudgeted financial settlement funds toward the immediate elimination of the remaining Section 18-a utility tax. Today, the state’s Department of Financial Services announced an additional $485 million in financial settlement money will be paid to New York, in addition to other settlement funds announced since the adoption of the FY 2016 state budget.

“The Section 18-a utility tax is an onerous and unnecessary burden on businesses, governments, schools, non-profits and homeowners,” said Heather C. Briccetti Esq., president and CEO of The Business Council.  “State-imposed assessments add more than $1 billion annually to the energy bills of business and individual ratepayers, making New York a more expensive and less competitive place to work and live.”
Under current law, the Section18-a utility tax will be completely phased out by March of 2017. There is no reason to not eliminate it sooner. According to the most recent figures from the New York State Division of Budget, this elimination will save NYS energy consumers $307.3 million over the next two years. That is only about one-fifth of the total $1.5 billion in financial settlement money the state has unexpectedly received, to date.

The Section 18-a assessment is often discussed in the context of its impact on businesses. It is also important to note the significant financial burden the temporary 18-a utility assessment places on middle and lower-income families, especially with electricity usage going up in the summer months.

We urge the Legislature and the Governor to make the elimination of the 18-a utility tax a top priority as we approach the end of session.