The 2017-2018 Business Council Legislative Scorecard

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New York State Assembly Scorecard 2017-2018

New York State Senate Scorecard 2017-2018


Description of bills used in the 2017-18 Legislative scorecard

  1. Adopts Statutory Cap on State Spending - Supported 
    S.365 (Robach)
    The Business Council has been a champion for the control of state spending, one of New York’s major, bipartisan success stories from the past few years. This fiscal constraint borne out of eight consecutive budgets with growth rates below or near two percent has allowed the state to adopt middle class tax cuts and business tax reforms, and increase state support for infrastructure and other critical needs. As a result, New York is in better fiscal shape than many other states.
  2. Cost/Benefit Analysis for State Personal Service Contracts – Opposed
    S.383 (Robach) / A.2022 (Bronson)
    This recurring bill would impose burdensome and ill-defined analysis requirements on state agencies prior to entering into a consultant services contract anticipated to be in excess of $750,000 in a 12-month period. This legislation is duplicative of existing law that specifies the amount and type of information that agencies must report when they hire outside consultants, including the number of consultants utilized on a specific project, historical information about consultant use by the agency and a projection of future consultant use and costs throughout the term of the contract.
  3. iCenter - Supported
    S.1121-A (Funke) / A.1713-A (Hevesi)
    This legislation would permit the state to operate a state information technology innovation center, or iCenter, to pilot technology products, enabling New York State to draw the most advanced, innovative and cutting edge technologies and products to a center that, in turn, will allow public information technology professionals to better understand the vastly expanding and ever-changing world of computers, software and technological advancements.
  4. Makes Real Property Tax Cap Permanent – Supported
    S.1207 (Flanagan)
    This legislation would make the real property tax cap permanent. Under current law, the cap expires on June 15, 2020 and is tied to the extension of New York City rent control. The real property cap has been a great success, providing more than $7 billion in tax relief to New York property owners, including more than $1 billion to business taxpayers. For many if not most businesses, the real property tax is the largest category of tax they pay. The benefits of the cap should be assured by making the cap permanent, and not subject to periodic sunsets and political gamesmanship.
  5. Clean Energy Tech Production Program – Supported
    S.1225-B (Griffo) / A.1705-B (Woerner)
    This legislation would establish a self-directed or “banking” approach, for large electric customers encompassing all applicable state-imposed Clean Energy charges. The self-directed or banking approach would maximize investments in renewable energy, load reduction and REV-related projects while at the same time, moderating rate impacts and reducing competitive inequities associated with current energy assessments. By allowing customers to only recoup money paid into Energy Saving Accounts upon completion of energy efficiency projects at their own facilities, customers will be strongly motivated to commit to clean energy and efficiency projects.
  6. Education/Health Article VII Legislation/HCRA Tax Extender – Opposed
    S.2007-B (Budget) / A.3007-B (Budget)
    A major feature of this budget bill was the three-year extension, through March 31, 2020, of more than $5 billion in taxes imposed under the Health Care Reform Act (HCRA). The surcharges and assessments (taxes) on health insurance, dating back to the Health Care Reform Act (HCRA) in 1996, impose significant cost burdens on employers and individuals who purchase health insurance. With no appreciable value-add, these taxes add well over $1000 per premium for the average family buying a policy in New York. These taxes far exceed national averages and other New York State taxes on employers and employees.
  7. Article VII Legislation, Workers' Comp Reforms – Supported
    S.2009-C (Budget) / A.3009-C (Budget)
    The 2017 reforms capped classification of Maximum Medical Improvement, reigning in the high costs associated with the needless delay of claim finalization. The adoption of new Impairment Guidelines for scheduled loss of use awards, which eliminate unnecessary monetary bonuses associated with certain injuries and treatments, are set to render savings to the system. The anticipated adoption of a pharmaceutical formulary will likely do the same. They resulted in a 4.5 percent reduction in “loss cost” rates (the basis for workers’ compensation premiums) for 2018, and 11.7 percent reduction for 2019, resulting in a reduction in overall system costs by upwards of one billion dollars.
  8. Small Business Tax Reductions – Supported 
    S.2120-A (O’Mara)
    This legislation would provide small business tax relief under both the corporate franchise tax and the personal income tax. It would: reduce the entire net income-based tax rate for small business under the corporate franchise tax from 6.5% to 4%, effective for the 2017 tax year; and expand the business income exclusion under the personal income tax from 5% to 15%, make the exclusion available for members, partners, and shareholders of LLCs, partnerships and sub-S corps, respectively, in addition to sole proprietors as under current law. Combined, these two components would provide nearly $500 million in annual tax relief to small business when fully implemented.
  9. Ownership of CPA Firms - Supported
    S.3851 (LaValle) / A.3046 (Moya)
    This legislation, which has passed the Senate unanimously four consecutive sessions, would allow public accounting firms to incorporate in New York State with minority ownership by individuals who are not Certified Public Accountants. This practice is currently allowed in 47 states. New York’s outdated restrictions place in-state firms at a disadvantage when it comes to recruiting and retaining top talent, such as IT experts, data analysts and others that complement a firm’s accountancy practice. This amendment will put New York firms on a level playing field with neighboring and competing states.
  10. Small Business Civil Penalty Policy – Supported
    S.4120-B (Akshar) / A.8205-B (McDonald)
    This legislation would preclude civil penalties for a small business’ first violation of an agency regulation, unless the agency determined that the violation directly affects public health or safety. Further, the agency must provide literature or an in-person meeting to inform such small business of its regulations. This legislation would require agencies to provide small businesses with information on how to comply with the necessary requirements rather than simply fining the business for a non-health-or-safety related first violation.
  11. Require Payment for Substantial Completion of Public Works - Supported
    S.4267 (DeFrancisco) / A.6572 (Cusick)
    This legislation would define “substantial completion” for the purposes of payments to contractors, subcontractors, and materials suppliers on public construction contracts. Once a public owner occupies a part or all of a substantially completed construction project, it is in the best interests of the taxpayers, contractors, subcontractors, and materials suppliers to close out the project in a timely manner. This bill defines the term “substantial completion” thus freeing all involved from ambiguities. For the above reasons, The Business Council supports this legislation and urges its passage.
  12. ABCL Extender - Supported
    S.5962 (Murphy) / A.7906 (Schimminger)
    This bill makes permanent certain provisions of the alcoholic beverage control law to allow the transport of alcoholic beverages within retail establishments (food stores/supermarkets) to their in-store restaurants. This provisions was due to sunset November 6, 2019. This piece of legislation merely removes the sunset provisions and implements the changes that were unanimously recommended by the ABC Working Group formed by Governor Cuomo in 2016 to modernize the ABC law.
  13. Regulates Wage Reporting by State Contractors - Supported
    S.6362-A (DeFrancisco)
    This legislation would establish a workable approach to securing reports from state contractors on their “fair pay” compliance. This bill is in response to Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 162 that imposes complex and vague reporting requirements on businesses with contracts with the state, but would fail to provide meaningful information on those businesses’ pay practices. It allows the state to require that, for contracts valued at more than $250,000, contractors must submit annual reports showing the distribution of their workforce by ethnic background, gender, federal occupational category and pay range. Individual reports would be categorically exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.
  14. Contract Procurement Flexibility - Supported
    S.6452 (DeFrancisco) / A.8156 (Peoples-Stokes)
    This bill makes a number of positive amendments to the state’s contract procurement procedures. It would require agencies to enroll with the Office of State Comptroller (OSC) to access the vendor responsibility system, and require agencies to provide vendors with information on how to access and utilize the system. It would also allow agencies to undertake competitive negotiations in cases where two or more offers are deemed susceptible for being selected, when the agency has determined that using a competitive negotiation will maximize the agency’s ability to obtain best value. The provisions in this legislation will generally allow for greater flexibility in state procurement and increased opportunities, transparency, and ease of use for vendors.
  15. Restores Experience Rating to UI Tax Tables - Supported 
    S.6777 (Amedore) 
    This bill restores the bottom six “rungs” of the UI tax tables that were repealed as part of a broader reform and refinancing package adopted in 2013, thereby increasing the degree to which state unemployment insurance taxes are based on an employer’s experience rating, thereby making UI tax payments more reflective of the degree to which an employer utilizes the unemployment insurance system.
  16. Federal Tax Cut “Take-Back” for Health Plans - Opposed
    S.7587 (Hannon)
    This ill-advised bill would require for-profit healthcare insurance companies to pay out any revenue realized as a direct result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to consumers in the form of rate reductions. While perhaps well intentioned, the bill unfairly chooses one industry to impact, would be nearly impossible to implement, is excessively expensive, and will negatively impact both for-profit and not-for-profit health insurers in the state. Furthermore, with the revenue being returned to the for-profit consumers in the form of rate reductions, this could cause a significant rate imbalance between for profit and not-for-profit health insurance providers rendering the not-for-profit plans much more expensive.
  17. Competitive Bid Preferences/Discriminatory Jurisdiction - Opposed
    S.7596 (Robach) / A.9961 (DenDekker)
    This legislation would amend the competitive bidding provisions of our State Finance Law by giving a five percent bid preference for bidders whose “headquarters and primary business presence” are located within New York State. While we appreciate the intent of promoting governmental sales by in-state business, the bill would actually result in economic damage for New York businesses looking to do business with other states by invoking those states’ laws that prohibits the state from entering into a contract with a business from a state that gives preference to in-state business (New York has a similar “discriminatory jurisdiction” provision that currently applies to businesses located in Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming.)
  18. Autonomous Vehicles - Supported 
    S.8243 (Robach) / A.9636 (Morelle)
    This legislation would, essentially, allow New York State to enter the market of autonomous vehicle technology by modifying §1226 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL) to modify the VTL requirement to have at least one hand on the wheel unless an automation system, “as defined in SAE J3016 as periodically revised, is engaged to perform steering functions.” This national standard has been adopted by the United States Department of Transportation. Current law requires a vehicle operator to have at least one hand or, in the case of a physically disabled person, at least one prosthetic device or aid on the steering mechanism at all times when the motor vehicle is in motion. This provision makes it illegal to employ technologies that require drivers to remove both hands from the steering wheel when automated parking and driving functions are utilized. New York is the only state that still retains this type of statutory provision.
  19. Paid Family Leave Bereavement Benefits - Opposed
    S.8380-A (Funke) / A.10639-A (Morelle)
    This bill would add bereavement leave to the state’s already expansive Paid Family Leave (PFL) law that – once fully implemented – will provide employees up to 12 weeks of paid leave each year. As drafted, it would authorize use of the full amount of paid leave – eventually up to 12 weeks per year – in response to the death of a family member. Like PFL’s provisions for new child bonding, which requires leave to be taken within 12 months of a birth or adoption, the bill as written appears to allow bereavement leave to be taken at any time after the death of a family member, seemingly with no restrictions.
  20. NFP Tax Decoupling - Supported
    S.8831 (Ranzenhofer) / A.11051 (Paulin)
    This is one of several bills intended to avoid an increase in tax liability for New York taxpayers resulting from the federal “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” of 2017. Its intent is to simply maintain elements of the state’s business tax code as they were pre-TCJA. Specifically, this legislation decouples from a federal tax law change related to “unrelated taxable income” of non-profits. Generally speaking, both the federal Internal Revenue Code and the state’s tax laws impose a tax on income earned by non-profit organizations that is generated through an activity not related to the tax-exempt purpose of that organization. Under state tax law §290, New York imposes a 9 % tax on unrelated business income as defined in the IRC. The purpose of this bill is to decouple New York tax law from IRC 501(m)(2)(A), to avoid imposing this unintended state tax burden on non-profit organizations including universities, hospitals and other entities.
  1. GILTI Decoupling - Supported
    S.8991 (Flanagan)
    This bill avoids an increase in tax liability for New York businesses resulting from the federal “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” of 2017. Specifically, this legislation decouples state tax law from a federal tax law change that imposes ongoing federal taxation on businesses with an ownership share in foreign corporations, even if the foreign earnings are not actually paid to or received by the New York business. Like most states, New York has historically applied a territorial business tax system, meaning that it only imposes tax on income earned in the U.S., and has not taxed the earnings of foreign subsidiaries. This bill maintains the state’s long-standing business tax policy, and restores the state’s treatment of foreign earnings to its pre-TJCA status.
  2. Decoupling from Cap on Interest Expense Deduction - Supported
    S.9030-A (O’Mara)
    Another federal tax decoupling bill, this legislation decouples from a federal tax law change that limits the deduction of business interest expenses to thirty percent of a taxpayer’s federal adjusted taxable income, effective for the 2018 and future tax years (taxpayers with gross receipts under $25 million are exempt). This cap was adopted by Congress along with “bonus depreciation,” which allows a taxpayer to immediately expense 100% of the cost of qualified property in the year the expense was incurred, effective for 2018 through 2023 (and phased down through 2027). The reason for the federal limit on interest deductions was to prevent a double tax benefit based on property - the cost of which is deducted in the year in which it is placed in service and not depreciated. However, New York State tax law is already “decoupled” from federal bonus depreciation. As a result, without this amendment, New York taxpayers would be hit with increased tax liability due to the cap on interest deductions, while also being deprived of the state-level benefit of asset expensing.
  3. Decoupling from Federal “Transition Tax” for Partnerships - Supported
    S.9052 (Flanagan)
    Absent state action, undistributed foreign earnings would be included in state taxable income for the owners of “pass through” businesses such as partnerships and LLCs, which pay tax on their business earnings at the individual level through the state’s personal income tax. This so-called “transition” or “deemed repatriated” income was made taxable at the federal level under the newly adopted IRC §965. The state’s FY 2019 budget included provisions to exempt this category of income from taxation under the state corporate franchise tax and insurance tax. This legislation extends that exemption to the personal income tax as well. Moreover, once these foreign earnings were actually paid to New York taxpayers, they would become fully taxable under the state’s personal income tax, so this legislative change mostly affects the timing, rather than the taxability, of these foreign earnings.
  4. Regulates "Litigation Financing" - Supported
    S.9105 (Ortt) / A.11257 (Magnarelli)
    The bill sets forth contract and disclosure requirements for third-party financing of litigation, to ensure consumers are fully aware of the proposed transaction, and imposes a cap on charges identical to that imposed by federal law on consumer credit transactions with members of the military. A 10-day right of rescission is also included to further protect the consumer. The bill also provides that litigation finance companies must submit a registration application containing all the information that the Department of State needs to evaluate the character, fitness and financial stability of the applicant. Such application must include a suitable bond and be approved by the Department prior to a certificate of registration being issued.
  5. Acupuncturists' Treatment for Workers’ Compensation - Opposed
    S.6666 (Amedore) / A.2023-A (Bronson) 
    This bill is seen as increasing overall workers’ compensation program costs by authorizing care and treatment of injured employees by a licensed acupuncturist. The adoption of objective medical treatment guidelines (for injured workers) that identify specific medical treatments that are considered appropriate and effective has been a significant undertaking, and is intended to not only provide the best care to injured workers but also provide that care in cost-effective manner. This bill would greatly broaden the scope and breadth of the services provided under the comp system. There is little doubt that this bill would lead to the proliferation of acupuncture treatment under the comp system and will significantly increase costs for employers.
  6. Mandatory Group Health Plan Coverage for In Vitro Fertilization - Opposed
    S.3148-A (Savino) / A.2646-A (Simotas)
    This bill would mandate group insurance coverage of in vitro fertilization (IVF) and other fertility treatments. The costs associated with such a mandate would be significant in a state with already high premium costs and significant state-imposed taxes and assessments. About one-third of employers cover fertility drug therapy, 24% cover IVF, and 23% cover artificial insemination. New York employers should have the right to decide whether or not such a benefit is appropriate and affordable for their business.
  7. “New York State Fair Pay Act” (aka Comparative Worth) - Opposed
    S.4482 (Sanders) / A.4696 (Titus)
    Another recurring bill, this legislation would in effect expand equal pay for equal work law to include equal pay for different work. The bill calls for the state's DOL to promulgate regulations specifying a methodology for determining equivalent skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions. Then it calls for the establishment of a single job comparison system. Once the department establishes a single job comparison system, it will require all employers to use it. This would be unprecedented government intrusion into the establishment of private sector organizations' pay methods and systems.
  8. Single Payer Health Plan - Opposed
    S.4840-A (Rivera) / A.4738-A (Gottfried)
    This bill would create the New York Health Plan, a government run health insurance system; its costs (estimates range from $91 billion to $226 billion per year) would be paid for by a new payroll tax as well as taxes based on other taxable income, such as capital gains, interest and dividends. The bill also makes most group health insurance coverage illegal in New York State, prohibiting the issuance of insurance policies that "duplicate" coverage offered to individuals under the New York Health Plan. The bill uses funds, now received for Medicare, Medicaid, Family Health and Child Health Plus combined with state revenue to fund the New York Health Trust Fund. There is simply no guarantee or even a reason to suspect that the federal government would grant necessary federal waivers to allow New York to fold those programs into New York Health.
  9. Prevailing Wage for Private Sector Projects - Opposed 
    S.2975-A (Murphy) / A.5498-A (Bronson)
    This legislation would impose public works “prevailing wage” standards on most private sector projects receiving any level of financial support from state or local entities, including loans, grants, tax abatements and others. The result of this legislation would be to significantly increase the labor costs, and therefore the overall project costs, of all projects subject to this new wage mandate. The public works “prevailing wage” as calculated by the state Department of Labor can be significantly higher than typical actual wages in local labor markets.
  10. Constitutional Right to Clean Environment - Opposed
    S.5287 (Carlucci) / A.6279 (Englebright)
    This bill would amend the New York State Constitution to establish a “self-executing right” that each person shall have a right to clean air and water, and a healthful environment. A self-executing right provides an unwarranted threshold level of standing, absent accompanying legislation. Furthermore, there is no compelling need to create a direct right of action under the state constitution to remedy an environmental condition because there are numerous adequate remedies available under current state law. The more likely outcome of this bill is needless and duplicative litigation. Current state and federal law provide abundant environmental protections, and regulators already police environmentally harmful conduct. Judicial review of most environmental issues is readily available under Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law & Rules, and citizen suits can be brought to authorize enforcement of environmental statutes.
  11. Internet Information Disclosure - Opposed
    S.5603-B (Carlucci) / A.7191-B (Wallace)
    This bill prohibits the disclosure of personally identifiable information by an internet service provider without the express written approval of the consumer. The results of such legislation would create chaos in the ISP world and with consumers. Since networks are not defined by state lines, providers would be faced with a patchwork of regulations as well as federal rules. Consumers would be faced by uncertainty between networks, states, and federal rules. Instead of pursuing state legislation, efforts of the federal regulators – specifically the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission – should be followed in order to insure a universal national policy in regards to information and data protections currently being investigated.
  12. "Save New York Call Center Jobs Act" - Opposed
    S.6282-A (Boyle) / A.7615-A (Rosenthal)
    This legislation would amend the Labor Law to impose severe restrictions on businesses operating call centers in New York State. Among other things, this bill would make an employer that relocates call center operations from New York State to a location outside of the United States ineligible for any “tax benefit,” state grant, or other form of “governmental support,” for a five-year period. This prohibition would apply regardless of the business’ ongoing level of in-state employment, wages, new capital investment, or other business presence, and regardless of the business reasons for the relocation and any beneficial impact that the relocation would have on overall customer services. It would also require any call center operators put on the state’s “black-ball” list to repay the value of any tax credits, grants or state support received after the effective date of this bill.
  13. Economy-Wide CO2 Regulation - Opposed
    S.7971-A (Hoylman) / A.8270-B (Englebright)
    This bill would mandate the elimination of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from any major emission source in the state by 2050. Requiring emission levels of zero from these sources by 2050 is simply not practical. There are significant economic and technological barriers to reducing emissions to zero. Current technology is not available to meet the requirements of this legislation without strict prohibitions. If this bill were to become law and could be enforced, it would result in inhospitable conditions for manufacturing, farming (tractors and soil management), and the current fleet of fossil fuel trucks and cars. Moreover, single-state efforts to eliminate all CO2 emissions would lead to dramatic carbon leakage as economic activity would migrate out-of-state. New York is one already one of the most carbon-efficient states in the U.S.
  14. “Net Neutrality” - Opposed
    S.7183-C (Carlucci) / A.8882-C (Fahy)
    This bill gives the Public Service Commission (PSC) authority to monitor the practices of internet service providers in regards to net neutrality and prohibits New York State, its authorities and municipalities from entering into contracts with internet service providers that do not adopt and apply “net neutrality” practices, except in only certain specified instances. State-level net neutrality legislation will not only create confusion for businesses and consumers alike, it will put our state at a competitive disadvantage when working to attract and retain businesses. States that attempt to regulate the internet threaten to undermine future innovation, as well as investments in broadband infrastructure.
  15. LLC Contribution Limits - Opposed
    S.7149 (Kavanagh) / A.9758-A (Simon)
    This legislation extends the state’s current $5,000 cap on aggregate annual campaign contributions by incorporated entities to limited liability companies as well. This bill also requires that contributions by LLCs be attributed to each member of the LLC in proportion to the member's ownership interest in the LLC. It places further limits on just one category of participants in the political process instead of taking a holistic view of the entire system to make meaningful and evenhanded reforms.
  16. Group Coverage Mandate for Contraceptives - Opposed
    A.9957 (Cahill)
    This bill would increase costs of group health insurance policies by mandating that they include coverage of all FDA-approved contraceptive drugs, devices, and products, as well as voluntary sterilization procedures, contraceptive education and counseling, and related follow-up services and prohibiting a health insurance policy from imposing any cost-sharing requirements or other restrictions or delays with respect to this coverage.
  17. Net Metering - Opposed
    S.8273 (Griffo) / A.10474 (Englebright) 
    This bill would extend New York’s net-metering compensation for at least 20 years, and would expand the size of net-metered resources, extend an imprecise and inefficient fixed price and will result in wasting ratepayer resources. While net metering has facilitated the deployment of renewable resources in New York, there has been a significant cost to the program.  While there may be some variation, net metered resources are generally reimbursed for their electricity at the full retail rate. For energy consumers, this means they pay a premium for electricity from a net metered resource.
  18. Workers’ Compensation for Opioid Related Deaths – Opposed
    S.8034 (Alcantara) / A.11028 (Jean-Pierre)  
    This bill amends the workers' compensation law, to create a presumption that the death of an injured worker of an opioid overdose is compensable if that injured worker was prescribed opioids to treat a workplace injury. This bill would add significantly to the cost of workers’ compensation premiums, by imposing an unreasonable presumption on the system.