2.27.2015

News from the Albany Colonie Regional Chamber

Chamber Names New Director of Government Relations
Tom O'Connor joined your Regional Chamber staff this week as Director, Government Relations. Tom comes to our Chamber with more than two decades of public policy experience, having worked for State Senators, as well as the Commissioner of Taxation and Finance, Department of Environmental Conservation and the Alcohol Beverage Commission. He also had his own public affairs firm. You can reach Tom at thomaso@acchamber.org and at518.431.1413.
 
Cuomo Approves First Batch of Legislation for 2015
The Governor has acted the first pieces of legislation passed in 2015, signing four bills into law.  Included in that list is a chapter amendment that makes the 2014 repeal of the Wage Theft Prevention Act's (WTPA) annual notice provision effective immediately. The WTPA's annual notice requirement imposed an additional, recurring administrative burden on private sector employers in New York State, for seemingly no benefit. In addition, this law eliminates the duty of the Commissioner of the Department of Labor to investigate six years' worth of records for employers violating the WTPA. 

QEZE Legislation Reintroduced
Senator Ranzenhofer has reintroduced his legislation from 2014 that would amend the tax law as it relates to the QEZE program. This legislation, which was also carried by Assemblyman Steck in 2014, would encourage the growth of New York State manufacturing by allowing the inclusion of all income derived from a business for the purposes of claiming the QEZE tax credit. Governor Cuomo vetoed the legislation in 2014, citing the significant fiscal impact of the legislation and suggesting that the issue of amending the tax credit is something better handled in the context of the State budget.

Siena Poll Shows Passage of an On-Time Budget More Important than
Approval of Ethics Package
According to a Siena poll released this week, the passage of an on-time budget by the March 31deadline is more important than approval of the Governor's proposed ethics package. Most New Yorkers polled were supportive of the Governor's plan to require additional disclosure on outside income and per diem reform, and 92 percent of those polled agreed that corruption is a serious problem in New York State.  Despite that support, however, 53 percent of individuals polled, as opposed to 37 percent, believed that an on-time spending plan is more important.

Senator Klein's Jobs Plan
Independent Conference Leader Jeff Klein has released a jobs plan that he says is modeled on Franklin Roosevelt's "New Deal" program.  The package proposes uses $5 billion of the state's surplus dollars to fund infrastructure projects with the creation of the Empire Public Works Revolving Loan Fund and the Community Jobs Program; it is projected that these funds would create 97,000 jobs and 40,000 jobs, respectively. Projects that could potentially be eligible for funding under this program include the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement, construction in the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Upstate Transit Authorities, local governments, state agencies, and other public authorities.The Community Jobs Program would provide job training opportunities and investments in projects such as rebuilding parks, libraries, and other small business development projects.

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