The Business Council of New York State, whose membership includes over 3500 member firms as well as over one hundred chambers of commerce and professional trade associations, has reviewed the above mentioned legislation and supports its enactment.
The transition of the electricity markets, marked by the separation of transmission facilities from generating operations (from the vertically integrated model), at the direction of the Public Service Commission (PSC) has transformed the traditional roles within the industry. Previously, both operations were usually contained within the same company and/or utility. The sale of the nuclear power generation facilities in New York has transferred these "special properties" to properties assessed at the true market value - for the first time. The resulting impact on the host communities could be dramatic.
This legislation provides a local option for municipalities who wish to address the shift of these assets from special property under state law to entities taxed at true market value. With their assessments at true value, tax revenue flowing to municipalities could drop dramatically. This legislation provides the localities with the option to voluntarily enter into negotiations with the plant owners to establish equitable PILOT agreements. This will effectively neutralize possible changes in plant valuation as well as decease the possibility of assessment challenges. The legislation would provide for a certainty due to PILOT agreements thus ameliorating the impact of the sales and a possible shift of tax burden onto local tax payers.
There are additional provisions worth mentioning including; the ability to afford these localities the option to negotiate long term agreements (15 years), providing a mitigation measure to prevent shifts in tax burdens among localities and the corresponding state equalization rate, and providing owners of plants with tax certainties.
For the above mentioned reasons The Business Council of New York State, Inc. supports the above referenced legislation and seeks its passage.