NYS Seal Contact: Charles Carrier
(518) 455-3888
For Immediate Release:
October 30, 2001
Silver Unveils World Trade Center Victim Assistance and Lower Manhattan Economic Recovery Package

Plan provides for family and rescue worker assistance, victim memorial and tax incentives to encourage business relocation to lower Manhattan

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver today outlined a series of legislative proposals aimed at providing critical assistance to the families touched by the tragedy of the World Trade Center terrorism attack and to the public employees and volunteers who performed heroically in the wake of the disaster. The proposal includes immediate and long-term initiatives to assist in the important task of rebuilding the economy of lower Manhattan.

"On the morning of September 11, we witnessed humanity at its worst," said Silver, during an afternoon news conference at which he was joined by key members of the New York City Assembly delegation.

"But since those awful first moments, we've also seen humanity at its best. It is in this undaunted spirit of valor, hope and resilience that we today advance the Assembly's program aimed at empowering our city and country to recover from this tragedy. Our actions today are but the beginning of a long and challenging rebuilding effort. In the weeks and months to come, the Assembly will continue to present initiatives to address the many social and economic problems the attacks of September 11 have inflicted upon our citizens," Silver said.

"Through this comprehensive set of proposals, we are seeking to establish an appropriate memorial for those who lost their lives in the attack, provide assistance to their families and create a variety of tools to help rebuild the city's economy and reclaim its rightful place as both financial capital of the world and center of arts, culture and entertainment to people everywhere," said Silver, whose Assembly district includes the area devastated by the attack and the surrounding community.

Highlights of the $200 million, multi-year package include: providing financial assistance for families of victims; establishing a memorial commission to commemorate those who died in the terrorist attack and honor those offering assistance in its wake; a Lower Manhattan Resurgence Authority to plan, coordinate and finance efforts to rebuild the affected area; and significant tax incentives to promote business stability and growth in lower Manhattan.

Providing Immediate Assistance to Victims' Families and Benefits to Rescue Workers

In an effort to ease the financial burden on the families of those who were killed in the attacks or died trying to save others, the Assembly seeks to provide remedies to the immediate problems they face and assistance in meeting their future needs.

Under the Assembly package, family members of deceased police officers, firefighters and other public employees would continue to receive their salaries. The package also would extend their health insurance benefits and create a supplemental, one-time death benefit for the surviving beneficiaries of all deceased public employees. For those public employees who were severely injured and will have to retire as a result of the terrorist attack, the package would create an enhanced disability pension amounting to three-fourths of their salary.

In addition, all families of those killed in the attacks would be eligible for education memorial awards to be used toward tuition, fees and room and board at public and private colleges in the state.

In an effort to provide continuity in insurance coverage, the Assembly proposals would establish a program aimed at continuing health coverage both for those who lost their jobs as a result of the attack and for survivors of those who died as a result of this tragedy.

The Assembly package would also enhance the state's unemployment insurance program for workers affected by the attacks by waiving the four-day waiting period to receive benefits. In addition, it would waive the waiting period for claimants who lost jobs in the airline, restaurant, hotel or tourism industries because of the attack It also would allow employees who were not working but were still injured in the attack to receive weekly disability benefit payments.

Silver said it was hoped all victims' costs to the state would be reimbursed by the federal government.

The Assembly package also provides significant assistance through several tax benefits, including:
  • extending the due date for real property tax payments to January 2, 2002 for victims' families, relief workers and property owners in the World Trade Center disaster area;
  • making individuals who perished in the disaster eligible for a 2000 and 2001 state income tax exemption;
  • expanding the state's enhanced STAR (School Tax Relief program) exemption on real property taxes and the New York City personal income tax STAR credit for rescue workers; and
  • creating a new partial property-tax exemption, at local option, to provide county, city, town and village tax relief for victims of the attacks; and
  • providing a new tax credit to any individual displaced because of the attack equal to the total cost of a hotel room the individual occupied.
The Assembly is also seeking to provide job protections for individuals serving in the National Guard or activated from the military reserves and who have been assigned duties related to the attacks. A related proposal also calls for doubling from 30 to 60 days the amount of paid military leave public employees can receive.

Rebuilding Lower Manhattan

Recognizing the significant role lower Manhattan plays in the city, state and national economies, the package creates a Lower Manhattan Resurgence Authority aimed at both stabilizing the business community in this vital area and restoring it through targeted tax incentives. Components of this effort were enacted last week as part of the final 2001-02 New York State budget.

This new, 13-member authority will develop a master plan for lower Manhattan revitalization, including coordinating the allocation of federal, state, city and private funds to rebuild and support international markets, the retail and tourism industries, residential opportunities and public-use facilities. To help support these efforts, the authority will issue "Rebuild New York" bonds. The authority will also develop a comprehensive plan to improve security in lower Manhattan and oversee the creation of an appropriate memorial at the World Trade Center site. The memorial planning and design will be spearheaded by a 21-member memorial commission.

Priorities identified by the Assembly emphasize relocation assistance to retain businesses in the financial district, in New York City and in New York State; the restoration and upgrading of lower Manhattan infrastructure, including utility and state-of-the-art communication lines; and improved public transportation. Specifically, the Assembly proposals call for:
  • grants and low-cost loans to assist businesses adversely affected by the disaster in temporarily relocating within New York City;
  • grants and low-cost loans to businesses that suffered limited non-structural damage but are in need of renovation in order to continue their operations; and
  • worker training grants to companies forced to hire new employees to replace those lost in the tragedy.
Critical to the redevelopment efforts under the Assembly plan are tax incentives that are intended to complement a federal stimulus package and are aimed at promoting the long-term relocation of businesses to lower Manhattan. These proposals build on immediate actions to keep affected businesses in New York City by providing tax incentives to encourage their eventual return to lower Manhattan. These initiatives, the newly created Liberty and Resurgence Zones, were established under provisions of legislation adopted last week. The Zones were allocated $10 million and build upon the state's current Empire Zone program by creating a new, modified zone encompassing lower Manhattan and would provide several targeted investment and tax incentives to businesses affected by the attacks.

Under the Assembly plan, businesses located in the Liberty and Resurgence Zones will have 10 years to enter the program and receive modified Empire Zone benefits for up to a decade, after which there will be a phase-out period. A state business income-tax credit for job creation that is equal to the percentage of its employment increase and a state sales tax exemption on goods or services purchased by businesses located within the zone are key incentives.

A relocation tax credit would be provided to any business located in Ground Zero that relocates and retains its employees within New York City. In addition, any business located in or relocating from Ground Zero would be exempt from state sales tax for the purchase of replacement equipment that is not insured.

Also included in last week's legislation is a program to provide low-cost electricity to businesses in lower Manhattan or temporarily dislocated as a result of the World Trade Center destruction.

Silver said he was looking forward to discussing the program Thursday during a day-long round of meetings with Congressional leaders in Washington, DC. Silver will be accompanied at the Capitol by state Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno and members of the New York City Partnership and the AFL-CIO.

"We are going to Washington as a united front to convince Congress that the City of New York, its citizens and its businesses need a great deal of help from their federal government in order to recover from the devastating attack of September eleventh," Silver said.

NOTE: The attached summary provides additional details on the Assembly Majority proposals.


Legislative Actions to Provide Immediate Assistance to Families of Victims and Benefits to Volunteers

  1. Public Employee Benefits

    This bill would continue the salary of the deceased public employee to the surviving spouse until he or she remarries, or if no spouse, the surviving children until they reach age 19 (23 if a full time student).

    This bill would also allow the surviving spouse to continue the health benefits available from the state or city (state employees already have this benefit in the event of accidental death).

    In addition the bill provides for a 3/4 disability pension to any state or city employee who sustained a disabling injury in the WTC tragedy, should such injury require the employee to retire prematurely. It also authorizes a supplemental death benefit in a lump sum equal to the final annual salary of the deceased employee over and above any other pension benefits to which the family is entitled.

  2. Real Property Tax Bills

    Extends deadline for payments (including installments) to January 2, 2002 for victims of the attack, relief workers and property owners in the World Trade Center disaster area. This will mirror the changes that were made under Executive Order by the Governor.

  3. National Guard Benefits

    A. 1693 (Tocci) would guarantee that an individual called to New York State National Guard or military reserve active duty will be offered the same job upon return from active duty that he or she held in the private sector before being activated.

    A. 1489 (Tocci) would double from 30 to 60 days the amount of paid military leave a public employee may receive in addition to the amount authorized by his or her state employment contract.

  4. Family Benefits

    Creation of Memorial Awards for survivors of the attack as well as children, spouses and dependents of victims of the attack. Awards would cover the cost of tuition, fees, and room and board for up to five years of undergraduate study at the SUNY and CUNY, and would also be applicable to private colleges in the State.

    The Assembly also recognizes the need to address unforeseen demands placed on the New York family due to this tragedy especially in regard to childcare.

  5. Waive UI payment deadlines and experience rating

    • Waive statutory four-day waiting period for victims normally required to receive benefits.

    • Waive four-day waiting period for claimants whose employment in the airline, restaurant, hotel or tourism industry was terminated as a result of the attack.

    • Do not charge employers directly affected their individual unemployment insurance tax accounts. (experience rating)

    • Change State Disability Insurance Law so employees injured by an act of terrorism can receive weekly benefit payments.

  6. Workers' Compensation Benefits

    • Provide workers' compensation for Ground Zero volunteers.

    • Institute a rebuttal presumption for employees due benefits from the Uninsured Employer Fund, that they did work for their employer.

  7. RPT/STAR Benefit

    This proposal would provide an enhanced STAR exemption for real property taxes and an enhanced NYC personal income tax credit for rescue workers who assisted in the relief efforts responding to the terrorist attacks.

  8. COBRA

    This would establish the New York Continuation Assistance Program. Under this program persons who have lost their job as a result of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center or, their survivors would be eligible for a payment of 50% of the monthly COBRA premium.

    The second bill is intended to address COBRA continuation in situations where, as a result of the attack, a business/employer no longer exists. This bill would require health plans to meet their obligations under the COBRA statutes as if the business still existed and allow the employee or survivor to access continuation group health insurance benefits.

  9. RPT Exemption for Victims

    This would provide a new property tax exemption against county, city, town and village taxes for victims of the attack.

  10. Tax Filing Deadlines

    This proposal would increase the amount of time in which the Commissioner of Taxation & Finance may extend tax filing deadlines from 90 days to 6 months and would give the Commissioner of New York City Finance similar power.

  11. Income Tax Exemption for Victims

    This would exempt income from persons who perished in the attack from the personal income tax for tax years 2000 and 2001.

  12. Tax Credit for Hotel Rooms

    Provide a tax credit to any individual who was temporarily displaced. The credit would be equal the total cost of the hotel room occupied by the displaced individual.

  13. Accelerated Refunds for Income Tax Paid by Deceased Persons

    Allow survivors who present a death certificate to get an expedited refund of State income taxes paid, instead of waiting for the normal April 15th deadline.

Legislation to Provide for the Rebuilding of New York City

  1. Memorial Commission

    Establish State/City commission with extensive public involvement to commemorate those who died in the terrorist attack and to honor the heroic efforts of New Yorkers assisting the victims. This commission will act in cooperation with the development authority. (See attachment.)

  2. New York Resurgence Authority

    Creates State/City authority with broad powers to plan, coordinate and finance efforts to rebuild the area devastated by the attack on the World Trade Center. (See attachment.)

  3. Rebuilding New York; Long-Term Assistance

    Would provide for tax credits at the site of the destruction and the remainder of lower Manhattan. (See attachment.)


    Twenty-One Members, appointed by:
    Chair of Lower Manhattan Resurgence Authority
         (Chair of Commission)
    Governor (6) (includes 2 survivors of the September 11 attack or family members of victims of the attack and 2 representatives of police or firefighters who responded to the attack)
    Mayor (6) (includes 2 survivors of the September 11 attack or family members of victims of the attack and 2 representatives of police or firefighters who responded to the attack)
    Speaker of the Assembly (1) and President Pro tem of the Senate (1);
    Speaker of the city council of New York City (1);
    Comptroller of New York City (1)
    Commissioner of the Office of General Services
    Director of the State Emergency Management Office
    Director of the Office of Emergency Management of New York City
    Commissioner of the Department of Design and Construction of New York City


      Plan and design a memorial to honor New Yorkers who lost their lives in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack and the firefighters, police, national guard, emergency personnel, and others who came to the aid of the victims of the attack.

    • Process to include opportunities for public input, including solicitation of suggestions from survivors and families of victims

    • Commission will deliver a final report with recommendations to the Lower Manhattan Resurgence Authority, the legislature, and the governor within one year of act's effective date

Procedural Issues

    The Commission will coordinate its activities with the Lower Manhattan Resurgence Authority; the Chair of Authority is also chair of the Memorial Commission


Thirteen Members, appointed by:
Chair appointed jointly by Governor and Mayor
Governor (3)
Mayor (3)
New York State Comptroller (1)
Speaker of the Assembly (1)
President Pro tem of the Senate (1)
City Council (1)
City Comptroller (1)
Borough of Manhattan President (1)

(Governor's and Mayor's appointees to include representation from business, organized labor and the local community)
Non-Voting Representatives, appointed by:
Port Authority NYNJ
Battery Park City Authority
Metropolitan Transit Authority
Chancellor of the City school district of the City of New York
Develop master plan for lower Manhattan resurgence

  • Planning for memorial and integration into overall plan (process to include major opportunities for public input; specifically, memorial planning requires solicitation of suggestions from families of victims)
  • International markets and finance function and support services
  • Retail, goods, services, restaurants, groceries, dry cleaners, etc.
  • Tourism, hotels, conventions, etc.
  • Enhanced residential opportunities
  • Public uses: schools, hospitals, churches, transportation centers, etc.
  • Plans to integrate improved security for the Lower Manhattan area

Act to provide incentives to encourage companies to remain in Lower Manhattan both temporarily and permanently; coordinate with Economic Development package

Assist reconstruction of utility infrastructure (master plan should call for reliable supply of electricity, state-of-the-art communication infrastructure, "green" buildings, etc.)

Provide training, education and internship programs to enhance the skill-set of the available workforce for the financial markets

Assets or Tools
Receive and distribute federal, state, and private funds

Facilitate federal and state programs to assist impacted businesses

Community development bank, especially for small businesses

Bond funds to be known as "Rebuild New York" bonds, to be available in large and small denominations (Need to request that Congress pass and the President sign legislation to provide that any bonds issued by a New York State entity devoted to rebuilding the area devastated by the terrorist act not be considered private activity bonds and that interest on all such bonds be exempt from federal income tax)

Tax relief -- coordinate with Economic Development package

Eminent domain power - limited to situations where original owners are unwilling or unable to cooperate

Procedural Issues
Limited duration (consistent with Economic Development package) proposal includes 10 year life for all activities except paying off obligations

Applicability of contracting rules (e.g. MWBE, prevailing wage, project labor agreements)

Rebuilding New York

Relocation Assistance

  • provide assistance in the form of grants and low-cost loans to businesses that have been adversely effected by the disaster to assist in their temporary relocation to other locations in New York City;

  • provide grants and low-cost loans to businesses that suffered limited, non-structural damage but are in need of renovation in order to continue their operations;

  • provide worker-training grants to companies who are forced to hire new employees to replace those lost in the tragedy;

  • assist the City of New York (through the New York Industrial Retention Network) to inventory existing commercial, retail, and industrial space to identify temporary quarters for businesses unable to continue at present in their current locations;

Lower Manhattan Tax Revitalization Plan

Liberty and Resurgence Zones
This program will build upon the State's current Empire Zone Program by creating two new zones, which will encompass Lower Manhattan.

Businesses located in the Liberty Zone or Resurgence Zone will receive modified Empire Zone benefits. Businesses have 10 years to enter the program. Businesses will receive the benefits for 10 years, after which the benefits will be phased-out 20 percent annually, under the taxes on business income. The Zone benefits include:
    Business Tax Credit for Job Creation

  • If a company increases its employment by 1%, it receives a credit for 1% of the State tax on income earned within the Liberty or Resurgence Zone.

  • Larger increases in employment result in larger credits.

  • Increasing employment by 100% means that no tax is paid on Zone income, making the income effectively "TAX-FREE".

    Sales Tax Exemption for Job Maintenance

  • Businesses located within the Liberty Zone and Resurgence Zone will be exempt from paying State sales tax on goods and services consumed or used within these Zones.

  • New York City will have the option to exempt the local portion of the sales tax.

Employee Relocation Credit
Provide a tax credit for any business located in Ground Zero that relocates and retains its employees within New York City. This one-time credit will be equal to $1,000 per employee relocated and retained in the City.
Sales Tax Exemption for Replacement Equipment
Provide a Sales Tax exemption to any business located in or relocating from Ground Zero for the replacement of destroyed equipment. The exemption would only apply to equipment not covered by insurance.
Real Estate Transaction Taxes
Provide an exemption from State and New York City transaction taxes for new property purchased or leased by a business that relocated from Ground Zero to another location within New York City. The exemptions would be provided under the State and City's Real Estate Transfer Tax and the Mortgage Recording Tax. The State would reimburse the City for any lost revenues associated with the exemption.
CAPCO Program
Authorize an additional $50 million in tax credits for companies that make new investments in Lower Manhattan through the Certified Capital Company Program (CAPCO).

New York State Assembly
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