THE LONG ISLAND ASSOCIATION'S PRIORITIES AND INITIATIVES FOR 2013
The Long Island Association's Priorities and Initiatives for 2013 include the critical issues that 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 intends to collaborate with other business organizations on Long Island and throughout the state to build support for these initiatives.
SUPPORT AND PROMOTE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND JOB CREATION INITIATIVES
- Rebuild Long Island's infrastructure and create construction jobs by investing in the maintenance, reconstruction and modernization of roads, bridges, rail, water, sewers, solid waste facilities, housing and utilities, especially those impacted by superstorm Sandy. Support public-private partnerships for these projects.
- Advance efforts to expand sewer capacity throughout Long Island and to allow for smart growth, transit oriented development projects.
- Support the expansion of Long Island MacArthur Airport with new airlines and destinations and the placement there of the new FAA air traffic control facility while supporting the growth of the overall aviation industry on Long Island.
- Support critical Long Island Rail Road initiatives such as completing the double track to Ronkonkoma and the East Side Access projects, while moving forward with the planning process for the 3rd Track and reopening of the Republic Airport station. Help build community support for these investments.
- Support expanded bus routes linking employee trips with LIRR stations and employment hubs.
- Ensure that the electric utility model ultimately pursued for our region is in the best interests of the Long Island business community based on rate impacts, service reliability and the ability to invest in a stronger, smarter and more efficient transmission and distribution system.
- 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 and Stony Brook University.
- Promote diverse energy supplies and projects, including the expansion of natural gas and the importation of more hydro power from upstate and Canada.
- Establish a strategic storage inventory of heating oil, gasoline and diesel fuel to meet the region's need during future severe weather events.
Innovation Economy and Heritage Industries
- Support the Governor's proposed Innovation Hot Spots, Innovation NY Network and Innovation Venture Capital Fund, all which complement our efforts with Accelerate Long Island to spur growth of clean-tech, bio-tech and high-tech startup companies on 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, more laboratory space for established and startup companies and increase the number of H-1B visas for high- skilled workers.
- Encourage public-private partnerships in education using alternative education models and continue to support STEM programs.
- Continue to support existing and new manufacturing and applied science industries.
- Expand and promote sustainable agriculture, fisheries, aquaculture and tourism industries, particularly on the East End.
Housing/Land Use/Regionally Significant Projects
- Increase the availability and diversity of the region's housing supply, including new affordable and multi-family housing projects.
- Support redevelopment projects at Belmont, Wyandanch, Pilgrim State, EPCAL, Ronkonkoma and Hempstead, and continue supporting the overall efforts of the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council.
- Support the Nassau County Executive's efforts to redevelop the Nassau Hub and advocate for a plan that is transformative for the region and one which will create long-term, high paying jobs.
- Support the Suffolk County Executive's Connect Long Island regional transportation and development plan.
- Improve SEQRA and permitting programs to give developers and businesses a more certain, workable timetable for the environmental review of major investment projects.
- 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.
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 cut 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; to prohibit use of any overtime in calculating the final salaries pensions are based upon; and to impose a 3% per year penalty for early retirement before the age of 66, all of which will help stabilize and fully fund this program.
- Support legislation that would end binding arbitration for public sector labor disputes, or at minimum, enact the Governor's proposal to define a government's "ability to pay" to ensure that if a municipality is under "fiscal distress," then the "ability to pay" cannot exceed 2%.
- Repeal portion of Triborough Amendment that requires automatic salary step increases to be paid to all public employees after labor contracts expire.
- 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 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.
- Oppose any additional state taxes, assessments, fees and unnecessary regulations that hurt job growth and economic development.
- Support making New York's energy costs more competitive and lower energy bills by repealing the 18-A utility assessment and avoid any new or increased energy taxes and assessments.
- Oppose increases in minimum wage until economy improves and unemployment drops.
- Support funding and tax incentives to make day care more affordable and accessible to working families.
- Support reforms to Workers' Compensation and Unemployment Insurance to help lower costs to businesses.
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