The Business Council opposes this legislation which, among other things, would impose more than $200 million annually in additional taxes and fees on New York State's manufacturing sector. Over the past five years, the Administration and the State Legislature has addressed key business costs factors - including state taxes, workers compensation costs and energy costs - that have reduced the state's ability to compete economically in the national and international marketplace. By putting significant new taxes on raw materials used by manufacturing firms, and increasing fees related to the generation of hazardous wastes, this bill flies in the face of these recent efforts.
Specifically, this bill would impose new use taxes on chemical products, chemical feedstocks, and metals (including steel and copper) ranging from $2 to more than $77 per ton. It would also quadruple the state's existing hazardous waste program fees (resulting in a maximum fee of $160,000 per facility) and its existing per-ton special assessments on the management of hazardous waste (resulting in a maximum fee of $108 per ton for landfill disposal.)
While proponents have argued that these fees will encourage "pollution prevention," these fees would be imposed on manufacturers with no consideration investments that make their chemical use more efficient, or that reduce air and water emissions or the generation of hazardous wastes. For example, all large quantity hazardous waste generators in New York are already subject to waste reduction planning mandates, and are required to implement cost-effective waste reduction measures.
Under this bill, a large, highly efficient manufacturer would be hit with new taxes that could easily exceed $1 million per year.
This proposal has numerous other provisions opposed by The Business Council.
- Expansion of the state's hazardous waste site remediation program to include so-called "hazardous substance sites" with no program reforms related to cleanup or liability standards.
- A requirement that all remedial programs achieve a "pre-release" condition regardless of technical feasibility, cost or other criteria that are now part of the remedy selection process at both the state and federal level.
- In addition to the tax and fee increases discussed above, the bill would impose a permanent inflation index on existing licence fee surcharges imposed on major petroleum storage facilities.
This bill would impose dramatic new fees on the state's business sector, and significantly increase the cost of privately and publicly financed cleanups with little in the way of added protection of public health.
Even though The Business Council could support several of the specific "brownfield" incentives included in this bill, considering its overwhelmingly negative impact, The Business Council opposes A.3609 and recommends against its approval by members of the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee.