NYALL2021-02-01T12:52:47-05:00

Report From The Hill

Commentary

The legislature passed the 2022-23 budget totaling approximately $220 billion, an increase of $8 billion more than last year that was $12 B over the previous year, financed by $6 B from the feds and $6 B in increased taxes on New Yorkers, despite increased revenues more than sufficient to meet state spending. A new base line is thus established that will cost even more over the next 5 years.

Motor fuel taxes will be suspended from the date the governor signs the bill until the end of 2022. The tax “holiday” applies to the motor fuel tax (Art. 12a) and sales tax (Art.15) but not the Petroleum Business Tax, (PBT), [see Art. 13a].  The first two equal approx. 16 cents per gallon.  Since the PBT is calculated each November based on the Wholesale Price Index (PBT), revenue will be greater due to much higher motor fuel prices.

The criminal ravages induced by bail reform have been partially offset, but still prevent judges from remand of first-time offenders who represent a danger. The responsibility for retreat from “cash bail” amid a crime wave was hung on Governor Hochul by the two reluctant leaders of the senate and assembly still searching for a solution to the disparate racial outcomes of the criminal justice system.

To make the spending a bit more palatable to the taxpayers for public financing of a new Buffalo Bills stadium and more spending generally, consumers may continue to take out drinks from restaurants, a dispensation from ABC laws during the Covid impact.  And the prospect of 3 new casinos in NYC will provide more revenues, tourism and construction provided developers can acquire permits for buildings powered solely by electricity, and, if order can be reestablished to assure visitors that NYC is safe.

 

BUDGET ITEMS RELATED TO CLCPA

Environmental Protection

The budget makes a significant investment in the environment. The plan increases funding for the Environmental Bond Act of 2022 by $2 billion to be allocated for climate change related purposes, including:

  • $500 million for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects at state-owned buildings;
  • $450 million for climate adaptation and mitigation projects, including for land acquisition and wetland protection;
  • $300 million to combat air pollution in environmental justice communities.
  • $250 million to combat water pollution in environmental justice communities.
  • $200 million to combat the urban heat island effect;
  • $150 million for open space conservation;
  • $100 million for farmland protection easements; and
  • $50 million for urban forest and habitat restoration projects.

The budget also allocates $400 million for the state Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), an increase of $100 million over last year’s funding.

 

REDISTRICTING MAPS

              The New York  Supreme Court has  invalidated the redistricting plan that does not meet the requirements of legislation enacted and  Constitutional amendment approved by the people.  The map drastically reduced congresssional and legisltive seats held by republicans.

To wit:

“In any judicial proceeding relating to redistricting of congressional or state legislative, any law establishing congressional or state legislative districts found to violate the provisions of this article shall invalid in whole or in part.  In the event that a court finds such violation the legislature shall have a full and reasonable opportunity to correct the law’s infirmities.”

The maps proferred by the legislature and processed through the Independent Redistricting Committee do not meet the criteria of law or constitutional imperatives that at such impasses anticipated by enactments my be resolved by redrawing the map boundries not to exceed a variance of 2 percent.

April 8, 2022|

Latest Report from the Hill

Several bills of interest were amended or referred to committees for review.

A-1451 – A – The sponsor has replaced the flat version – A-1451 – with one of the earlier prints introduced over the last four year, retaining many of the confusing language and none of the partial improvements from the senate version introduced 3 years ago by Sen. Tedisco.  The measure effectively allows a propane consumer to solely determine if an emergency exists and a dealer, not the owner of the tank, to supply fuel.  The bill suffers from the same deficiencies as the original hurriedly past in 2017 despite its garbled language and logic.

s- 2522 – Increases the top income tax rate to capture additional revenue on low-taxed investment income.  This may be one of the tax increases to close the state’s budget gap regardless of the amount of any federal allocation to NY. It references the IRS code.

S- 2833 – An additional tax on business income by off-setting the federal undertaxation [sic] of corporate profits and pass-through business income as a result of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.  NY’s tax code is coupled to parts of the IRS code; this looks like a decouple.

Bills introduced this week.

S – 2746, S – 2747, S – 2748, S – 2752, S – 2753.  These implement separate items from a report of the Office of Court Administration to protect consumers from contract terms that may favor the stronger party by limiting prerogatives of companies and expanding remedies of delinquent customers.  These measures have been around for many years and passage would certainly clog the court dockets.  The “report” predicts “unclog.”

The New York Attorney General, Lititia James has dropped a political bomb on the 2nd floor (a synecdoche for the governor’s office) in a report on the number of Covid deaths among the elderly at hospitals and nursing homes, in excess of what had been reported by the NYS Department of Public Health.  This discrepancy was widely known but not quantified because the department would not respond to FOIL requests submitted by several groups with some threatening legal action in the courts.

The AG’s report places considerable responsibility on the nursing homes themselves who have maintained the governor applied pressure to force the return of hospitalized patients with Covid- 19 to crowded and ill-equipped facilities.  Families of the deceased have been extremely distressed and now have the data and information to pursue legal action placing the governor in political jeopardy.  The tort bar has a clear path to sue nursing homes who have insurance but sought and failed to get indemnified in federal legislation.  The AG’s office has been a stop on the way to the governor office: Andrew Cuomo, Eliot Spitzer in recent years, and garnered enough political profile to attract funds to mount a race like former AG Robert Abrams.

 

January 29, 2021|
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