WHITE PLAINS, NY (February 2015) – Showing its influence and understanding of how government policies affect businesses across New York State, The Business Council of Westchester was in Albany Wednesday as part of an all-day lobbying effort to reforms laws that are hurting New York.
As part of the visit to the State Capitol, BCW members met in-person with New York State’s new Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul and members of Westchester’s delegation including Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins of Yonkers, Senator George Latimer of Rye, Senator Terrence Murphy of Yorktown, Senator David Carlucci of Ossining, Assemblywoman Sandy Galef of Ossining, Assemblyman Steve Otis of Rye, Assemblyman David Buchwald of White Plains and Assemblywoman Shelly Mayer of Yonkers. The group also met with key industry leaders including Gavin Landry, executive director of Tourism for New York State; Mike Elmendorf, president and CEO of Associated General Contractors of New York State; E.J. McMahon, president of Empire Center for Public Policy; and Robert Harding of Greenberg Traurig.
“Public policies have an enormous impact on a businesses’ bottom-line and its ability to serve its stakeholders,” said John Ravitz, executive vice president and COO of The Business Council of Westchester. “Reforms in Albany — either enacted or ignored — are directly related to the fiscal health of our state. That’s why The Business Council’s Government Action Council takes such an active role in speaking to leaders and lobbying on behalf of our members. With our legislative agenda in hand, we will ensure that Westchester County’s business community is heard at all levels of government.”
During its trip, The Business Council also presented lawmakers with its 2015 Legislative Agenda, a 30-page booklet that outlines reform priorities regarding spending, energy, education and transportation that include:
• Fiscal reforms, mandate relief and spending controls, which encompasses:
o Making the pensions system more predictable and affordable for municipalities and school districts
o Redefining the arbitration system so that the state considers the ability of localities and taxpayers to pay for such union arbitration awards
o Reducing the cost of construction by reforming the Scaffold Law and Public Construction Act and repealing the Wicks Law
o Establishing minimum health insurance contributions for employees and retirees.
• Energy, which includes:
o Passage of a law that would provide incentives extend natural gas distribution lines in New York
o Eliminating burdensome energy taxes such as 18-a, a 2 percent tax on electricity bills that was introduced in 2009 as a temporary revenue generator
o Reforming the Energy Vision, or REV, by promoting efficiency, renewable energy production and utilizing micro-grids, on-site power supplies and storage
o Support the continued operation of Indian Point Energy Center, which provides 25 percent of energy used in the New York Metropolitan area.
• Education, which includes:
o Focusing on high quality assessments aligned to Common Core standards
o Supporting passage of Education Investment Tax Credit to increase charitable donations for education-related entities
o Enhancing BOCES Aid.
In addition to meeting with decision makers, Nick Reisman, a senior Albany reporter from Capital Tonight on Time Warner Cable News, provided members with the scoop of what’s going on in Albany and beyond. Members wrapped up the day with dinner at one of Albany’s legendary restaurants, Jack’s Oyster House.