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Money

Cuomo recharges New York's power-for-jobs swap

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MikeNeilson
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via Flickr
States can now plug into cheap power benefits for creating jobs.

Governor Cuomo has been touting his efforts to provide cheap power guarantees to businesses that create jobs. Yesterday he was in Buffalo to sign the "Recharge New York" bill into law, reports Robert J. McCarthy at the Buffalo News:

Under the new version of the state's hydropower-allocation program, the governor said, businesses can expect a 60 percent expansion that will help more than 800 of them and create hundreds of thousands of jobs. That marks a major expansion from the current level of 500 businesses. He noted previous remarks offered by State Sen. George D. Maziarz, R-Newfane, about the difficulty in obtaining key elements, such as seven-year allocation contracts, and said the task has finally been accomplished. "After all those days of trying and failing, trying and failing, it's now done," the governor said. "That's a different day in Albany."

Cara Matthews at the Democrat and Chronicle's Vote Up! blog sums up the new program:

The new program will: – Provide 910 megawatts of power for participants. – Be supported by 455 megawatts of hydroelectric power and 455 megawatts of market power. – Reserve at least 350 megawatts for upstate businesses and institutions. – Reserve at least 200 megawatts for business attraction and expansion. – Reserve up to 100 megawatts for not-for-profits.

Sales tax

Sales tax receipts were up in New York last quarter, reports Joseph Spector at Gannett, though officials caution not to read too much into the gains just yet:

Sales tax revenue was up 8.6 percent statewide for the first three months of the year compared with the same period in 2010. Most counties also had gains, part of a recent spike in spending on the local level. The first quarter mirrors trends for 2010, when the state ended the calendar year with sales-tax revenue up 8.3 percent, records from the state Department of Taxation and Finance show. The first quarter of this year showed positive signs for most counties: Dutchess County was up 20 percent; Broome was up 10 percent and Monroe was up nearly 8 percent. The numbers were also encouraging in the lower Hudson Valley: up 5.9 percent in Putnam; 7 percent in Rockland; and 2.6 percent in Westchester.

Meanwhile, My-Ly Nguyen reports at the Press & Sun-Bulletin that sales tax exemptions offered on clothing, starting April 1, have thrown some businesses for a loop:

From April 1, 2011 through March 31, 2012, clothing and footwear sold for less than $55 per item are exempt from the state's 4 percent sales tax. On April 1, 2012, the state's prior exemption on clothes and shoes sold for less than $110 will be restored, according to the law. That exemption had been in effect prior to Oct. 1, 2010. Urban Outfitters in Ithaca is one business that had been charging state sales tax after the new exemption took effect this month. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment. After an inquiry by this newspaper to the state, Maione said the business on Tuesday "indicated they're reprogramming their computers" to comply with the amended law.

Chambers

At the Democrat and Chronicle, Ernest Lamothe Jr. reports that chambers of business are ramping up the services they offer their members in order to stay relevant through the recession:

Local chambers of commerce are changing in purpose and scope because they've had to prove their worth in a difficult climate for businesses. The majority of communities nationwide — cities and suburbs — have an organization that promotes and encourages local businesses by providing a combination of civic pride and networking. Yet chamber officials understand they need to do more these days to show their value, with discretionary spending considered a luxury. Chambers are hosting seminars on social media, networking skills, teaching how to save on energy costs, offering free help-wanted postings on the chamber's website, monthly newsletters and advertising tips to stand out.

GE

GE is sinking $2 million into technology for its circuit board plant in Rochester, reports Andrea Deckert at the Rochester Business Journal.

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