Eleven days. That is how much time remains in the 2012 Session as of this column’s writing. On the surface, 11 days may not seem very long given the glacial pace at which New Yorkers have grown accustomed to seeing their state government move. However, the past two years have stood this notion on its head and clearly demonstrated that, where there is a will, Albany finds a way.
2012 SESSION ALREADY HAS SEEN MANY SUCCESSES
This year, we achieved many successes that included delivering an early State Budget that held the line on spending; expanding New York’s DNA Databank; closing a projected $3.5 billion budget deficit without raising taxes; enacting the “NY Works” program to fix our crumbling roads and bridges; and beginning a state takeover of the growth of local Medicaid costs to give local governments and taxpayers real relief.
Given Albany’s newfound ability to set partisanship aside, work together and get things done – the same approach that I put into practice as a Legislative Leader – I believe 11 days is enough time to build on our successes and ensure the 2012 Session ends with a bang and not a whimper.
MY PRIORITIES FOR END OF SESSION: JOB CREATION, MANDATE RELIEF, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND A BETTER BUSINESS CLIMATE
With the national unemployment rate ticking back up to 8.2 percent, some economists are expressing renewed worries that an already soft economy could be slipping backward despite some recent modest gains. I believe the best way to prevent New York’s job outlook from backsliding is to meet the latest economic bad news head-on by adopting a series of pro-jobs, pro-growth policies that will kick-start our economy, stem the growth of job-killing and costly mandates and put folks back to work.
Here are 11 of my proposals that should serve as a non-partisan must-do list for the remaining 11 days of session. Each initiative focuses on strengthening New York’s economy, protecting local taxpayers and creating more private sector jobs at the very time we most need them.
- BizBoom (Assembly Bill A.10364): Establish the “BizBoom” business startup program that will cut all application fees for new businesses by 50 percent for the first year, eliminate business income taxes for the first year and reduce income tax rates for the second and third years;
- Division of Regulatory Review & Economic Growth (Assembly Bill A.10419): Create the “Division of Regulatory Review & Economic Growth” (D-RREG), led by a commissioner who has a fixed term, to review and make binding recommendations for the elimination of burdensome, job-killing regulations;
- Mandate Relief (Assembly Bill A.8447): Enact the “Taxpayer Protection and Mandate Relief Act,” which includes a State Spending Cap, a moratorium on unfunded mandates on local governments and school districts costing more than $10,000 annually or $1 million statewide, and places a 2-year sunset date on every law that imposes an annual net additional cost to any locality in excess of $10,000 annually or $1 million statewide;
- Innovators Corps (Assembly Bill A.10445): Develop the “Innovators Corps,” which is a four-member division of business experts to identify, recruit and/or retain domestic and international high technology businesses;
- New York State Business Incubator Network (Assembly Bill A.10399): Establish the New York State Business Incubator Network to support the development of academic linked business incubators and to accelerate the growth and success of early-stage companies so important to building New York’s innovation economy;
- High-Tech Worker-NY (Assembly Bill A.10359): Provide a Personal Income Tax exemption of up to $50,000 per year for the first five years for new high-tech employees who completed a high-tech training program within the past 12 months (any college, vocational or certification program);
- Invest-NY (Assembly Bill A.10353): Create an Angel Investment Tax Credit to encourage private investment in business. This measure also amends the definition of a Qualified Emerging Technology Company (QETC) to allow more companies to be eligible for the QETC tax credit and expands eligibility for the NYS Investment Tax Credits to ALL businesses that make new investments in property and equipment in New York;
- Patent-NY (Assembly Bill A.10360): Implement a Personal Income Tax credit for patent fees to ensure New York remains home to the innovative breakthroughs our economy needs;
- Retain-NY (Assembly Bill A.10354): Provide a Personal Income Tax deduction for all interest paid on student loans for taxpayers and increase the current college tuition tax credit deduction from $10,000 to $13,820 and maximum tax credit from $400 to $553;
- Work-NY (Assembly Bill A.10350): Reduce the tax rate for all manufacturers by 50 percent; provide a 10 percent Personal Income Tax credit for small businesses with incomes less than $250,000. The bill also creates a “Hire-NY” tax credit for businesses for each new job filled by an unemployed person or a veteran. Finally, this legislation repeals the Ton Mileage Tax on trucking to alleviate the adverse effect it has on businesses locating fleets or distribution centers in New York State; and
- Shop-NY (Assembly Bill A.10355): Eliminate the State Sales Tax on purchases of gasoline (8 cents per gallon), child car seats, protective helmets, as well as personal hygiene products, including baby diapers, soap and toothpaste.
Each of the bills that I introduced would give our economy an immediate boost and, over the long-term, help protect New Yorkers in the event of another major economic downturn. While there are many worthwhile issues meriting consideration for the remaining 11 days of Session, I believe that creating more jobs and building a stronger economy should be our top priorities.
NEXT WEEK: My take on how the Thruway Authority’s proposed 45 percent toll hike is a road to fewer jobs and a less competitive economy!
As always, constituents wishing to discuss this topic, or any other state-related matter should contact my district office at (315) 781-2030, or e-mail me at email@example.com.