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2010 NYS legislative season disappointing for pro-business lobby

State Capitol.jpg
Matt H. Wade
via Flickr

Do a quick search on the New York State Senate or Assembly websites for legislation with the keyword “economic development” and you’ll come up with thousands of hits. But very few of those bills will ever actually make it to the floor of both houses for a vote, and ultimately land on the governor’s desk for a signature.

The bills that do get that far make it because they’re the recipient of an organized lobbying effort, according to the Business Council of New York’s spokesman Michael Moran.

Moran says his organization keeps a close eye on legislation that specifically affects economic growth in the Empire State. He says the 2010 legislative season had a number of disappointments for his group:

  1. Real property tax cap– The Business Council strongly supports this bill (S.67005, A.41005). The legislation would cap taxes levied by school districts and local government at 4 percent. The organization believes tax relief will make the state a friendlier place for business. Back in August, the Senate approved the bill but the Assembly is still looking at it. According to the Times Union, Speaker Sheldon Silver is waiting for the next governor to negotiate on the bill. So what are the bill’s prospects under a new governor? Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo is in favor of a cap. His Republican rival Carl Paladino wants to cut taxes instead of capping them.
  2. Energize New York– This bill (S.8065) would replace the Power for Jobs program. Power for Jobs, according to Bloomberg Businessweek, provided 500 companies, hospitals and nonprofit groups with discounted power. The program expired on June 2, 2010. It was temporarily extended. Several businesses would be faced with higher energy cost without the program. “Energize New York” was created to revamp the measure and make it better. The Business Council says the new legislation has key provisions to support high paying jobs while promoting energy efficiency. The Senate approved the bill and the Assembly is considering it.
  3. Mandated paid family leave– The bill (S.5791, A3659) would provide 12 weeks of paid leave to employees through the temporary disability benefit. The Business Council wishes this bill would go away, believing that it would increase the cost of creating and maintaining jobs in New York. The New York State Paid Family Leave Coalition supports the legislation. The organization says it allows working families to care for themselves without risking economic security. Neither house has voted on the bill yet.

On the other hand, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) registered what they see as some progress this legislative session. NFIB provides research, networking and forums to small businesses throughout the United States. Its New York State director Michael Elmendorf says one key piece of legislation that supports small businesses did make it to the floor of both houses.

  1. Regional economic development– This bill (S.3076, A2201) created a one-stop regional economic development and regulatory compliance assistance program. It allows those regional offices to provide aid and resources to small businesses. Elmendorf says helping small businesses will have a big impact on the future of the state. Both the Senate and the Assembly approved the bill. It was signed by the governor.

NYSTAR, New York State Foundation for Science Technology and Innovation also saw some success with  a bill that establishes a clinic program to bring new technology into the marketplace.

  1. Technology commercialization clinic program– The bill (S.6964, A.9991) was recently signed by Governor David Paterson. The purpose of the new law is to bring universities, entrepreneurs and companies together in order to commercialize new products. New York Science and Technology Law Center, based at Syracuse University College of Law, will manage the program.

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