Governor Andrew Cuomo yesterday unveiled his administration's 2016 NY State Executive Budget and presented his annual State of the State Agenda in a speech to members of the state legislature in Albany.
The NYC Hospitality Alliance's state governmental affairs team, led by Yoswein New York, was all-hands-on-deck in Albany and we wanted to highlight just a few issues and proposals that could potentially impact you and your fellow Alliance members in New York City.
The Governor's full range of 2016 proposals can be found by clicking here to a presentation entitled "Built to Lead." While the speech included initiatives ranging from ethics reform and homelessness, to cancer screening and infrastructure, among the key issues/proposals that The Alliance will be working on in Albany in the coming months are:
- Minimum wage increase - The Governor has proposed an increase in the state minimum wage to $15 per hour, and while The Alliance has already started discussing the potential impacts of such an increase with legislators, a central focus of our state efforts will be advocating for a freeze on the tip wage as part of any negotiated agreement on the state's minimum wage. Click here to read The Alliance's Executive Director Andrew Rigie's Op-Ed in the NY Daily News on the need to freeze the tip wage.
- Paid family leave - Paid family leave is expected to be a topic of intense focus and negotiation by the Governor, the NYS Senate and NYS Assembly during the 2016 session. All parties have identified the issue as a priority and both the Assembly Speaker and the Senator Majority Leader immediately weighed in on the issue yesterday:
Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan: "He made some very salient points ... the devil is in the details but he made it very clear that it was going to be employee-based funding of the program. A lot of our members care very clearly about that. I would say it's a very good start."
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie: "Paid family leave has been something we've passed for a while and again I want to see the details. It's hard for me to comment on exact things until we see the details of what he writes in these budget bills."
- Small business tax cuts - Business groups across New York State have expressed serious concern over the impacts of these wage initiatives and other government mandates and so the Governor has proposed cutting taxes both for small businesses who pay via the corporate tax and those who pay through personal income taxes. More information on his tax cut proposal is available here.
In terms of immediate legislative reactions, Majority Leader Flanagan suggested: "I don't know exactly what the details are. But to suggest that $300 million in small business tax cuts is a good offset for the minimum wage, I don't think that works at all." Stay tuned...
Again, the Governor's presentation yesterday was just the very start of the budget and policy-making process, and this broad range of proposals and ideas will be the subject of much discussion, negotiation and debate with the Assembly and State Senate over the next several months.
Finally, NYC Hospitality Alliance members should know that our government affairs teams at the City and State levels are putting together our 2016 Legislative Agendas/Priorities and will be diligent in monitoring and addressing additional legislation and policy initiatives that could impact your businesses.
We will be back in touch with regular governmental relations updates as the legislative session progresses, but as always, please don't hesitate to contact us with any questions or should you require additional information - info@theNYCalliance.org.