Assemblyman Philip Ramos (D-Central Islip) announced that the Assembly passed a comprehensive jobs package that will help stimulate the state’s economy.
“This legislation will help grow New York State’s economy in a number of ways,” Assemblyman Ramos said. “By reforming the Empire Zones program, providing businesses with incentives to create jobs and reducing energy costs, we will further strengthen our economy.”
Reforming the Empire Zones program
Created in 1986, the Empire Zones program was designed to encourage businesses to create jobs by providing them with tax breaks. Unfortunately, a 2004 audit by the Office of the State Comptroller showed that the Islip Empire Zones program failed to meet its job creation promises. In fact, 61% of businesses did not meet their job creation goals while 17% of businesses wound up cutting jobs.
To combat loopholes in the program and a lack of accountability the Assembly passed new legislation (A.9125), which Assemblyman Ramos sponsored, that reforms the Empire Zones program by:
- authorizing the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) to review businesses receiving zone benefits to determine whether any should be subject to more scrutiny and to a cost/benefit test;
- authorizing the Department of Taxation and Finance to investigate businesses to be sure they have met requirements – especially job creation requirements – of the program; and
- bringing transparency and openness to the program by requiring public meetings and votes by local Empire Zone boards.
“These reforms will help re-focus the Empire Zones program on its primary mission – creating good-paying jobs,” Assemblyman Ramos said. “With this legislation we will be able to increase accountability and efficiency, saving taxpayers millions of dollars.”
Extending the Power for Jobs program
The Assembly also introduced legislation to expand the successful Power for Jobs program. The program provides low-cost energy to businesses and not-for-profit organizations that commit to creating and retaining jobs in New York State. Currently, Power for Jobs provides energy for nearly 600 employers committed to protecting more than 350,000 jobs.
“By extending Power for Jobs the Assembly has committed to sticking with programs that work,” Ramos said. “Providing low-cost energy rewards businesses who retain jobs in New York and encourages them to create new ones.”
In addition, the legislation (A.8940) which Ramos sponsored, establishes a fiscally sound energy policy. According to Assemblyman Ramos, the bill will lower energy costs and reduce New York’s dependence on foreign oil. Specifically, the bill:
- extends Power for Jobs for another three years;
- institutes reforms of the Long Island Power Authority reports;
- recreates a Long Island Power Authority elected board of trustees; with the Chair appointed by the Governor;
- reestablishes the State Energy Office to provide leadership on increasing energy efficiency;
- establishes “green building” energy efficient standards for state buildings; and
- creates “facilities of refuge” in every county to be available in emergencies.
“This legislation will provide savings to consumers and set New York State on the right track to energy efficiency,” Ramos said.