For Release — January 17, 2017
Business Council urges lawmakers to get “Back to Business”
The Council’s 2017 Legislative and Regulatory agenda highlights commonsense reforms and policy changes that will improve the state’s economy and provide real benefit to residents and businesses across New York
ALBANY, N.Y.—The Business Council of New York State, Inc. today released its 2017 Legislative and Regulatory Agenda. Branded “Back to Business,” the agenda urges the Governor and the Legislature to reverse the negative impact of last year’s anti-business session by implementing commonsense reforms and enacting key legislation which will promote growth, create jobs and benefit the entire state.
“It’s no secret that the 2016 Legislative session, with the combination of an onerous minimum wage increase and the most expansive Paid Family Leave mandate in the country, was poorly received by the state’s business community,” said Heather C. Briccetti, Esq., president and CEO of The Business Council of New York State, Inc. “Those mandates, combined with the lack of any meaningful, broad-based business climate reforms, left our state’s small, medium and large job creators wondering when Albany was going to get Back to Business and start working for them.”
The Business Council strongly believes it is in the best interest of the entire state to promote policies and regulatory reforms which make it easier for New York’s business community to grow and prosper. With that in mind, we are calling for the following:
- Workers’ Compensation Reform
Our top priority is meaningful workers’ comp reform. This includes issuance of updated scheduled loss of use medical guidelines and commencing duration caps at two years after an injury to fully realize the cost savings of duration caps on permanent partial disability benefits.
- Promote Energy Infrastructure Investments
Expanding access to natural gas for manufacturing facilities, power production, transportation, and other purposes will support the state’s economic and environmental objectives.
- Maintain Budget Discipline
New York’s fiscal discipline over the past six years has allowed the state to adopt important tax reforms and avoid the significant budget challenges – and pressures for new or increased taxes – faced by a number of other states. It is increasingly important that the state keep spending growth to 2 percent or lower, and avoid imposing significant new taxes and fees on the state’s business sector.
- Eliminate Regulatory Barriers to Growth
The state needs to address outmoded barriers and restrictions in state law that prevent sector-specific growth. Examples include adopting new insurance provisions that allow for the extension of ridesharing services to upstate and Long Island, and promoting innovation in the financial services sector by authorizing minority non-CPA ownership in public accountancy firms.
- Continue with Business Tax Reform
Following on state and New York City corporate tax reform adopted in 2014 and 2015, the state should adopt business tax reductions for small businesses organized as pass-through entities, including Sub-S corporations, LLCs, and partnerships; decrease the corporate franchise tax rate for small businesses; and reform the administration of the local utility gross receipt tax and the real property tax.
- Education and Workforce Development
We continue to support the state’s commitment to enhanced education standards; and the continued expansion of the New York State P-TECH program. We will also advocate for funding for incumbent employment training; and continued development of CTE and STEM education initiatives.
The state needs to reform the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) 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.
- Reduce Costs of Capital Investments
With major MTA and transportation capital plans adopted in 2016, and with a focus on the need for additional business, housing and infrastructure investments, the state needs to eliminate antiquated provisions that drive up cost. These include reforming the Scaffold Law by adopting the comparative negligence standard that applies to forms of liability, using a more realistic approach to implementing MWBE targets, and reducing the cost of public capital spending by repealing the Wicks law and reforming prevailing wages calculations.
- Reform HCRA
Set to sunset December 31, 2017, the Health Care Reform Act imposes some $6 billion in taxes on premium payers and others to support a myriad of programs not envisioned in or sanctioned by the law. Intended to support bad debt/charity care for hospitals as well as promoting graduate medical education, HCRA taxes have become more of a slush-fund for health-related programs. Given the intent of the law and with over 2.8 million New Yorkers now insured through NY State of Health (many newly insured), an assessment of the need for further extension of HCRA is overdue.
The Business Council was pleased to see many of these issues mentioned in the Governor’s State of the State rollout and book. While the Governor’s message also cited workers’ compensation reform as an important issue for 2017, it failed to advance any specific cost-savings. The Governor’s 2017 Legislative priorities also raised several new concerns for our members, including proposals for: price control of pharmaceuticals; limits on employers’ political advocacy; new labor law requirements; additional “pay equity” proposals; and new environmental mandates and restrictions.
The Business Council’s full 2017 “Back to Business” agenda may be found here. Additionally, we encourage media, government, and the public to follow #TBCBacktoBusiness throughout the 2017 Legislative session as we continue to advance our agenda.