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

Report From The Hill

Commentary

A synopsis of Gov. Kathy Hochul’s state of the state message is available at: https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-hochul-
delivers-2022-state-state

It contains modest goals expected from any governor and
especially a successor to Andrew Cuomo whose forced departure
provided an invitation for good-government initiatives, the usual tired
narrative, except for her proposal to limit statewide office holders to two
terms that has garnered little support.
Then there are all the bromides, bon mots, cliches and sacred coins of
the progressive realm: inclusivity, sustainability, disadvantaged and
those identified by the hieroglyphics accessible only to activists, semanticists, canon lawyers, the offended and classes of identity-
politics.

She mentioned accelerating planned tax cuts for “middleclass,
hardworking families” affected by Covid and life’s vicissitudes, made
worse by government policy and incompetence.
These initiatives will be fleshed out in the budget message issued next
week, an outline of state spending that should be viewed with two
things in mind: Last year the budget was swollen by about $5b in tax
increases and about $5-6 billion in federal Covid relief and spending
rose to about $220 B, about 12 billion more than had spending
proceeded at its previous rates of increase; Fiscal 22-23 revenue
projections will have to account for a loss of population of about
350,000 taxpayers, many high income tax generators for the state.
However, revenue projections appear to meet the financial plans of the
executive and both houses whose estimates are almost identical.
The state, like others, factors into its revenue projections “settlements”,
this year those from big PHARMA for pushing opioids on the vulnerable
at a high cost to society and the state. [Think tobacco settlements]

The climate change agenda and the bills to implement it have all
been advanced to the status they had last year and are expected to
move through the process.

January 7, 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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