For Release — March 15, 2016
State’s leading manufacturing groups hold lobby day
ALBANY, N.Y.—Manufacturers from across the state, led by The Manufacturers Alliance of New York and The Business Council of New York State Inc., held their 8th Annual Lobby Day today to meet with key lawmakers and highlight legislative issues important to New York’s manufacturers.
“Manufacturing leaders are in Albany today to talk to legislators on issues that directly impact manufacturers’ ability to invest and grow in New York,” said Randy Wolken, President of the Manufacturers Alliance. “We are promoting specific legislative proposals to improve the state’s economic climate and to retain high paying jobs, and responding to others that will hurt our sector.”
“Manufacturing remains the largest sector of our group’s membership base and a key component of the New York State economy,” said Kenneth J. Pokalsky, Vice President of The Business Council of New York State Inc. “New York’s 15,000 manufacturers employ more than 455,000 people, and generate nearly $70 billion in economic output. Maintaining our manufacturing base is critically important to the state’s economic future, especially in the regional economies of upstate New York.”
This year’s lobby day focused on the following areas:
Minimum Wage and Paid Family Leave
Manufacturers, like other sectors, would be adversely impacted by a $15 minimum wage and paid leave proposals. In upstate regions, where current median wages are in the $16 to $17 range, a significantly higher minimum wage will put pressure on entry level wages and even mid-range wage scales, adding to their direct costs and to supplier costs. Expansive paid leave proposals will impact manufacturer’s ability to manage their workforce, resulting in additional costs for temporary help, overtime and impact on operations.
Workers Compensation Reform
Fully realize the cost savings of duration caps on permanent partial disability benefits, by establishing a rebuttable presumption of commencement of caps at 2 years after an injury, or apply any benefits paid after 2 years post injury against capped benefits. Finalize and implement administrative updates to medical guidelines on scheduled loss of use awards; mandate the use of panel providers for the first ninety days of medical treatment; and reform indexing of maximum benefits to reflect regional average weekly wages.
18-a Energy Assessment
Repeal Section 18-a energy gross receipts assessment effective 1/1/16, avoiding the collection of an additional $200 million from business and residential ratepayers.
Small Business Tax Reform
Adopt business tax reductions for small businesses organized as pass-through entities including Sub-S corporations, LLCs and partnerships; increase the business income tax exemption under the personal income tax from 5 to 15 percent for businesses with a tax liability under $500,000. Decrease the corporate franchise tax rate from 6.5 to 2.5 percent for small business with a tax liability less than or equal to $500,000.
Promoting Manufacturing Growth
Lower the thresholds for Excelsior Jobs program “regionally significant manufacturing projects” to the creation of 10 jobs and capital investment of $1 million or more (current thresholds are 50 new jobs and $5 million investment.)
Continue to expand the P-TECH program, where 16 of the initial 26 schools provided an advanced manufacturing career pathway. Increase funding for summer youth employment in manufacturing and advanced manufacturing occupations; provide funding for incumbent manufacturing employment training.
Energy Infrastructure Investment
Expand access to natural gas for manufacturing facilities, including: dedicating state energy assessment resources to pipeline extensions; expedite the state review of applications for expansion of natural gas infrastructure; authorize real property tax exemptions for the increased assessed value attributable to new natural gas distribution facilities; and repeal outdated requirement that the Department of Transportation create certified LNG transport routes.
R&D tax credits
Adopt a new, refundable, two part research and development tax credit (with a component for capital investments modeled on existing Article 9A ITC language and a component for non-depreciable expenses based on the federal R&D credit) using current year R&D spending.
Adopt legislative reforms to the State Environmental Quality Review Act to provide more certainty in project reviews, including: clarifying the standard for complete applications; heightening the standard for issues to be subject to administrative adjudication; making adherence to state review timetables mandatory; and assuring application of statutory and regulatory standards.
Adopt measures to provide price protection to large energy consumers from energy assessments. Adopt a self-directed energy program and cap energy assessments. Exclude large energy consumers from the cost associated with residential customer system upgrades associated with REV.
Scaffold Law Reform
Reform the antiquated Scaffold Law by adopting a standard that assigns comparative negligence similar to that in place for other forms of liability.