Business Council Helps Make New York's Businesses and Taxpayers Winners in 2012 Session

ALBANY, NY (06/21/2012)(readMedia)-- Through its extensive advocacy efforts and the grassroots involvement of its members, The Business Council of New York State has helped move New York toward a more competitive business climate, by helping to pass proactive legislation and to defeat a wide range of bills that would increase burdens on business. The Business Council has worked with Governor Cuomo and lawmakers to keep Albany's leaders on a path that will continue the trends set over the last two sessions.

These actions, combined with earlier measures – a second consecutive on-time budget with controlled spending, no new taxes and important investments in job creation and critical infrastructure sends a strong message to the state's business community and the rest of the nation that New York is moving in a direction that will lead to a better economy and an improved outlook for all New Yorkers.

Key components of these efforts include:

• Stopping a minimum wage increase (S.6413 / A.9148) that would have cost New York employers as much as $1 billion in the next year and, due to indexing, would have continued to increase the cost of doing business for years to come.

• Stopping the expansion of the Martin Act (S.7465 / A.9627), which is one of the strongest – and, in our view, most unfair – securities laws in the nation, because of its overly broad definition of fraud, low evidentiary standards and expansive investigative authority. This legislation could impact any publicly traded business doing business in New York State.

• Killing legislation (S.3749-C / A.5183 and S.3741 / A.6294) that would have rolled back workers' compensation cost-saving measures adopted as part of the 2007 Workers' Compensation reforms.

• Preventing the passage of a bill (S.3186-A / A.2474-A) that would have allowed physicians to collectively bargain with health care plans, which would have put more money in doctors' pockets while driving up the cost of health care for both employers and patients.

• Stopping mandated minimum payment for "out of network" health care services proposed in (S.5068-A / A.7489-B). The legislation would have required health plans that chose to cover out-of-network services to reimburse out-of-network medical services at a rate basically set by those providers, creating a costly incentive to push up medical costs.

• Preventing the passage of a Call Center bill (S.6918 / A.9809) that would have imposed punitive restrictions on businesses that move a portion of existing in-state call center jobs to a foreign nation -including suspended financial incentives, tax credits and/or procurement contracts for a period of five years -regardless of the business' remaining in-state employment or investment.

• Stopping the passage of a number of Prevailing Wage bills including the so called "street cutters" bill (S.3827 / A.6970) that would have extended public sector prevailing wage mandates to private sector projects requiring street-opening permits.

Additionally, The Business Council proactively supported a number of pro-business measures that will have long-lasting impacts on the cost of doing business in New York. These include:

• The passage of Tier VI pension reform, which will save state and local governments some $90 billion over the next thirty years. This is an important step toward broader spending reform in New York. For the first time, we also have a public employee pension system that contains the option of a defined contribution plan for public employees. The bill includes provisions that will reduce pension padding and eliminate pension fraud and abuse.

• The passage of a bill that is the first step toward a constitutional amendment allowing casino gaming in New York, which will generate jobs and state tax revenues, and help put New York on a level playing field with other states.

• The passage of a bill (S.2837 / A.5448) that authorizes deductions from wages for a variety of services and goods, when agreed upon by both the employee and employer. This bill broadens the ability of employers to make deductions from their employees' pay for purchases in on-site cafeterias and pharmacies, pay for gym members and parking, and other employee conveniences.

• Passage of a bill (S.7344-A / A.10181) that helps to grow and expand the craft beer industry in New York State. This measure protects an important tax benefit for small breweries that produce beer in New York, creates a Farm Brewery license that will allow craft brewers to expand their operations through opening restaurants or selling new products and will exempt breweries that produce small batches of beer from paying an annual State Liquor Authority fee.

• Passage of a bill (S.6663 / A.9605) that will dedicate state revenues from the "I Love NY" brand and reinvest that money back into supporting the state's important travel and tourism industry.

• Passage of a Letters of Credit bill (S.5671-A / A.8641-A). This legislation limits the amount of any letter of credit required by state entities to no more than 3 percent of the total contract for vendors contracting with the state. Placing a cap on letters of credit will encourage small business and MWBE participation in state contracting and help the state realize more cost saving opportunities by limiting the expenses and burdens placed on bidders.

In the coming months, The Business Council will continue working with decision-makers in Albany to develop legislation on tax, regulatory and local mandate reforms; manage the cost of group health plans; lower workers' compensation costs; and other key business climate issues. When New York is able to make additional progress in these areas it will help control the cost of local and state government and continue the restoration of New York private sector investment and retain and grow good paying jobs.