On January 16th, Governor Cuomo unveiled his 2018-2019 state budget. The deadline for the New York State Legislature to adopt the budget is March 31st. You can view the Governor’s press release here and read the actual budget documents here.
Some of the key issues which the LIA will be reviewing closely include:
In response to the recently enacted federal tax law which caps the deductibility of state and local taxes, Governor Cuomo has directed the state Department of Taxation and Finance to explore restructuring options. The Department issued a preliminary report that outlines options for state tax reform in response to the federal legislation, which you can read here. It includes a series of proposals for consideration and comment, including the potential to create additional opportunities for charitable contributions to New York State, the possibility of reducing income taxes by shifting income tax from an employee paid system to an employer paid system and the option to add tax deductibility through a new statewide unincorporated business tax, among other options. The LIA has an open mind to various options and will monitor this closely to ensure any possible new state tax paradigm holds harmless both the employer and employee.
Long Island Sound Crossing
One of Governor Cuomo’s key Long Island initiatives in 2018 is advancing a potential Long Island Sound crossing. In 2015, he directed $5 million to the Department of Transportation to examine the feasibility of a tunnel connecting Long Island to Westchester County or Connecticut. You can read the study here. This year, the Governor has directed that New York State should continue to pursue such a tunnel, a project which DOT has determined is feasible as a way of reducing traffic on the congested Long Island Expressway. The LIA supports further study of this project and has invited DOT to make a presentation of the initial study so a public discussion can commence.
The budget includes $750 million for Round Eight of the Regional Economic Development Councils, which Long Island again won last year. It also reauthorizes Round Three of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative which would allow one downtown on Long Island to win $10 million like Westbury and Hicksville have won in the last two years.
The budget states that it will support the recommendations of the Fix NYC report aimed at reducing congestion in Midtown Manhattan as well as generating revenues for operations of the subway system and bus system. LIA President & CEO Kevin Law sits on the Governor’s Fix NYC Task Force that devised the proposal. Which you can read here.
New York Islanders
In the weeks before Governor Cuomo unveiled his budget, he announced the New York Islanders will be returning home to Long Island at a brand new arena to be constructed at Belmont Park. The LIA has been leading the efforts to ensure the Islanders play a substantial number of home games at the renovated Nassau Coliseum while the new arena is built.
New Taxes on Health Insurance Companies
The proposed budget includes a new windfall profit tax on health insurance companies in New York. Governor Cuomo put forth a plan to impose a 14 percent surcharge on the net profits of private health insurers in the state. While health insurers are expected to benefit from a decrease in the corporate tax rate under the new federal tax law that takes effect this year (the tax rate will be reduced from 35 percent to 21 percent under the law enacted by Congress in December), the new surcharge could ultimately increase the cost of health care for New Yorkers. The LIA will monitor this closely as we oppose any new taxes and fees on health insurance companies operating in the state because of the deleterious effect it will have on those specific companies, the cost of health insurance generally and the economy as a whole.
LIA 2018 Priorities & Initiatives
The LIA will be issuing our annual Priorities & Initiatives for the year which will include the top issues for which we will be advocating. We will be distributing this soon.
Public Officials Guide
The LIA has released its annual Public Officials Guide, which includes the names, positions and contact information for all legislators representing the Long Island region. Please click here for an online version of the guide, and please contact Tiffany Hansen at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like a hard copy.