Advocacy

The LIA advocates to make Long Island a great place to live, work and do business.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

LIA Priorities

THE LONG ISLAND ASSOCIATION'S PRIORITIES AND INITIATIVES FOR 2014

The Long Island Association's Priorities and Initiatives for 2014 include the critical issues, policies and projects we will advocate for on behalf of the Long Island business community this year. We are committed to achieving these objectives in order to create jobs, spur private investment, promote economic development, rebuild from Superstorm Sandy, reduce the property tax burden and improve the overall business climate in our region. The LIA will continue to collaborate with other organizations on Long Island and throughout the state to build support for these initiatives. In addition, Long Island's demographics clearly show we are getting older and losing our younger generation. In fact, our changing demographics may be the single greatest challenge facing Long Island today. We need to start growing again and the LIA intends to be the ‘agent of change' to help mobilize our region to get Long Island growing again. And, while our region adapts to population changes, we need to ensure we do not jettison our educational and environmental amenities that make Long Island an attractive place to live and work. 

SUPPORT AND PROMOTE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND JOB CREATION INITIATIVES

Infrastructure

  • Work with the Long Island Builders Institute and the Association for a Better Long Island to advance efforts to expand sewer capacity throughout Long Island and allow for smart growth and transit-oriented development projects, especially those that will increase the supply of rental housing on Long Island.
  • Support investments in the Long Island Rail Road as efforts to make it easier to get to and from New York City strengthen our region. Work with the Long Island Index to help build community support for critical initiatives such as completing the Double Track to Ronkonkoma and the East Side Access project, while moving forward with the planning process for the 3rd Track. Also, support the reopening of the Republic Airport rail station and pursue the electrification of the LIRR to Port Jefferson.
  • Build regional support for the expansion of Long Island MacArthur Airport with new airlines and destinations and strengthen its connectivity to the LIRR station at Ronkonkoma. Also, continue to support the placement there of the new FAA air traffic control facility, as well as for the growth of Republic Airport and the overall aviation industry on Long Island.
  • Work with the Long Island Contractors Association to rebuild Long Island's infrastructure and create construction jobs by investing in the maintenance, reconstruction and modernization of roads, bridges, rail, water, sewers, and utilities, especially those impacted by Superstorm Sandy, and support public-private partnerships for these projects.
  • Support expanded bus routes linking employee trips with LIRR stations and employment hubs as proposed in Connect Long Island.
  • Explore a new Long Island Sound crossing to Connecticut to better connect the Long Island economy to the New England economy. 

Energy

  • Support the orderly transition from National Grid to PSEG and the continuation and enhancement of LIPA's energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.
  • Support investment in Long Island's energy infrastructure to ensure available and reliable power while strengthening the resiliency of the grid to withstand extreme weather events like Superstorm Sandy.
  • Support initiatives such as the smart grid and battery storage projects being developed by Brookhaven National Laboratory (‘BNL') and Stony Brook University (‘SBU') and advocate for state financial support of the bid of Brookhaven Science Associates (consisting of SBU and Battelle Memorial Institute) to continue managing BNL on behalf of the United States Department of Energy
  • Support efforts to create a clean energy economy on Long Island by encouraging the growth of the region's wind and solar industries and advocate for LIPA to donate the Shoreham nuclear power plant site to a renewable energy manufacturer of wind turbines and/or solar panels to create clean energy jobs.
  • Promote diverse energy supplies and projects, including the expansion of natural gas and the importation of more hydro-power from Upstate and Canada.

Innovation Economy 

  • Assist our academic institutions with participating in Start-Up NY and other state and local efforts to spur the growth of high-tech startup companies on Long Island.
  • Continue to administratively support Accelerate Long Island.
  • Support a refundable tax credit for capital and other qualified research expenses to foster research and development.
  • Support reestablishing a qualified emerging technology company tax credit for capital, operational and training investments in small, emerging technology businesses.
  • Promote life sciences industries with in-state clinical trials through tax and financial incentives and more laboratory space for established and startup companies.
  • Support federal immigration reform to increase the number of H-1B visas and ensure highly skilled immigrants can legally enter and stay in the U.S. to help drive Long Island's innovation economy.
  • Support our great schools and encourage public-private partnerships in education using alternative education models while continuing to support STEM programs to ensure a strong workforce for the future.
  • Work with the Long Island Forum for Technology and continue to support existing and new manufacturing and the applied science industries.
  • Support efforts to make our region safer from cyber-security attacks and support efforts to create a cyber-security industry on Long Island.
  • Assist businesses with the Global NY program to expand international trade for Long Island companies with foreign countries, especially those linked to manufacturing. 

Rental Housing/Land Use/Regionally Significant Projects

  • Partner with the Long Island Builders Institute to generate construction of rental units throughout Long Island, especially in downtowns and near mass transit, to attract and retain young professionals.
  • Encourage density goals for all communities to increase the availability and diversity of the region's housing supply including new affordable and multi-family housing projects. Support specific housing projects that are significant to our region and support a model multi-family overlay zoning district for towns and villages to adopt.
  • Support redevelopment projects at Belmont, Wyandanch, Pilgrim State, EPCAL, Ronkonkoma, Hempstead and other distressed communities and continue supporting the overall efforts of the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council.
  • Support efforts to redevelop the Nassau Hub and advocate for a comprehensive plan for the balance of the site that is transformative for the region and one that will create long-term, high paying jobs.
  • Support efforts to improve New York State's Brownfields program that would increase the construction of rental housing on these sites.
  • Support legislation that would require a bond be submitted by the party appealing a land-use decision to protect developers from associated costs relating to delays caused by appeals of decisions made by municipalities.
  • Improve SEQRA and permitting programs to give developers and businesses a more certain, workable timetable for the environmental review of major projects.
  • Support the creation of a special New York State Supreme Court for land-use litigation to allow courts to develop expertise in the field and to accelerate judicial decisions. 

Natural Assets

  • Support environmental and water protection efforts that do not hinder business growth as our economy is strengthened by a healthy environment and a degraded environment produces fewer jobs.
  • Work with real estate communities and environmental organizations to identify what land should be protected and what land could be developed on Long Island.
  • Help expand and promote sustainable agriculture, fisheries, aquaculture and tourism industries, particularly on the East End.
  • Support our arts, environmental, cultural and recreational activities to promote Long Island as a great place to live, work and play.

REDUCE THE PROPERTY TAX BURDEN AND SUPPORT TAX POLICIES TO ENHANCE THE BUSINESS CLIMATE IN OUR REGION

Controlling Costs of Public Pensions, Salaries and Benefits

Current and future pension and health care costs for public employees are not sustainable and may actually force municipalities to pierce the property tax cap, eliminate services and even file for bankruptcy unless further reforms are approved. Accordingly, the LIA endorses the following action items:

  • Support legislation that would require all public employees participating in the New York State Retirement System to contribute 25% towards their health insurance costs, which is comparable to what state employees currently pay.
  • Expand the New York State retirement system Tier VI's optional defined contribution plan (currently available to non-union employees salaried at $75,000 and higher) to include all existing and future employees.
  • Support legislation affecting all public employees who participate in the New York State Retirement System to reduce the future retirement earnings credit for a year of government service to 1.5%; to increase the retirement age to 66; and prohibit use of any overtime in calculating the final salaries pensions are based upon, all of which will help stabilize the pension fund.
  • Support legislation that would end binding arbitration for public sector labor disputes and/or support a 2% cap on mandatory arbitration awards.
  • Repeal portion of Triborough Amendment that requires automatic salary step increases to be paid to public employees after labor contracts expire.

Mandate Relief 

  • Eliminate unfunded mandates imposed by the state to help local governments and school districts comply with the 2% property tax cap and oppose any new unfunded mandates.
  • Reduce the cost of construction by repealing the state's Wicks Law which adds to the cost of public projects.
  • Reform the state's Scaffold Law by making liability standards against owners of construction projects less onerous and more fair in terms of fault allocation and liability standards.
  • Curb soaring Medicaid costs for county governments by having the state take over each county's 25% share, as is done in most states.

Taxes and Regulatory Policies 

  • Oppose federal efforts to cap or eliminate federal income tax deductions for state and local taxes and mortgage interest.
  • Support broad based federal and state tax relief measures (including those identified in the Governor's Tax Commission's Final Report)  to modernize business taxes, make our tax structure more competitive, lower costs on businesses and keep New Yorkers from leaving the state.
  • Oppose any additional state taxes, assessments, fees and unnecessary regulations that hurt job growth and economic development.
  • Support a 2% cap on state spending growth.
  • Eliminate the New York State estate tax or, at a minimum, raise the current exemption level to match the federal exemption level to protect individuals and small businesses.
  • Cut New York State's capital gains tax to incentivize businesses to locate here as we are one of a minority of states that treat capital gains as ordinary income.
  • Support making New York's energy costs more competitive and lower energy bills by accelerating the phase-out of the 18-A utility assessment and oppose any new or increased energy taxes and assessments.
  • Eliminate the sales tax on the purchase of general aviation aircraft as has been done in bordering states.
  • Extend the federal Wind Production Tax Credit, which gives wind power owners a tax credit per kilowatt-hour of electricity they produce.
  • Support additional reforms to Workers' Compensation and Unemployment Insurance to help lower costs to businesses.

Taxes and Regulatory Policies 

  • Oppose federal efforts to cap or eliminate federal income tax deductions for state and local taxes and mortgage interest.
  • Support broad based federal and state tax relief measures (including those identified in the Governor's Tax Commission's Final Report)  to modernize business taxes, make our tax structure more competitive, lower costs on businesses and keep New Yorkers from leaving the state.
  • Oppose any additional state taxes, assessments, fees and unnecessary regulations that hurt job growth and economic development.
  • Support a 2% cap on state spending growth.
  • Eliminate the New York State estate tax or, at a minimum, raise the current exemption level to match the federal exemption level to protect individuals and small businesses.
  • Cut New York State's capital gains tax to incentivize businesses to locate here as we are one of a minority of states that treat capital gains as ordinary income.
  • Support making New York's energy costs more competitive and lower energy bills by accelerating the phase-out of the 18-A utility assessment and oppose any new or increased energy taxes and assessments.
  • Eliminate the sales tax on the purchase of general aviation aircraft as has been done in bordering states.
  • Extend the federal Wind Production Tax Credit, which gives wind power owners a tax credit per kilowatt-hour of electricity they produce.
  • Support additional reforms to Workers' Compensation and Unemployment Insurance to help lower costs to businesses.

Other Important Initiatives The LIA Will Support In 2014

  • Partner with Energiea and support legislation to establish a single election day of voting for all special districts (fire, sanitation, library, water, etc.) on Long Island.
  • Work with the Long Island Regional Planning Council to relaunch ‘LI First', a program designed to encourage Long Island businesses to purchase goods and services from other Long Island businesses.
  • Support efforts to make day care more affordable and accessible to working families.
  • Update the Balance of Payments Report which shows how much Long Islanders give to Albany and Washington, D.C. in tax revenues and how much we get back in state and federal aid in return.
  • Advocate for our fair share of federal and state aid in Washington, D.C. and Albany as any new monies could ease the school tax burden where the majority of property taxes go and/or provide funds for infrastructure investments needed to support growth.
  • Work with Organized Labor to support efforts to create good-paying careers for its members and for our region.
  • Support equality and diversity on Long Island and speak out against speech that breeds hatred, especially against undocumented immigrants, which is wrong and hurts the perception of our business region and support our local minority- and women-owned businesses.
  • Support legislation to move tax assessment responsibility from Nassau County to the towns and cities in Nassau County as is done in Suffolk County.
  • Create a Business to Business (B2B) Data Bank of businesses in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. 

Download printable verison of LONG ISLAND ASSOCIATION'S PRIORITIES AND INITIATIVES FOR 2014