April 1, 2011

Silver and Assembly Majority's Economic Initiatives
To Revitalize State's Economy Included in Budget

Low Cost Power, Job Creation Incentives and Higher Education Restorations
Lead Assembly's Efforts to Rebuild New York

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and the Assembly Majority announced that the newly approved SFY 2011-2012 Budget includes a series of economic development initiatives and restorations to boost the state's job creation efforts and spur investments in industries and businesses throughout the state.

"We need a comprehensive economic development approach to get New Yorkers back to work and help pull New York's economy out of the nation's deepest recession since the Great Depression," said Silver. "To rebuild the state's recession battered economy, the Assembly supported critical economic development initiatives in the budget that addressed the need for a highly skilled and educated workforce, lowcost power, access to capital and enhanced incentives for job creation and retention."

The budget includes series of economic development measures that would:

Rebuild the State's Economy with Effective Economic Development Initiatives

- Extends the Excelsior Jobs Program for strategic industries, including manufacturing, high-tech, clean-energy and agricultural, from five to 10 years and also provides eligibility to agricultural cooperatives. The program's job development incentive would provide a tax credit equal to 6.85 percent of the wages paid for each job created under the program. There also would be an increase in the Excelsior Research and Development tax credit from 10 to 50 percent of the taxpayer's federal credit and bases the Excelsior Real Property tax credit on the value of property after improvements.

- Provides more than $130 million in capital funding to boost the state's economic development and job creations efforts by supporting the Governor's creation of ten Regional Economic Development Councils. Each council will make recommendations to the state on how to best utilize their unique economic assets to attract and maintain business investments and jobs to their region.

- Enhances the Linked Deposit Program by increasing the lifetime maximum loan amount for eligible program participants from $1 million to $2 million, and increases the repayment term from four to eight years. The Linked Deposit Program has been a very successful state business loan program that has been used to provide businesses access to the working capital they need to implement a viable business strategy.

- Maintains Community Development Financial Institutions at $1.5 million, Entrepreneurial Assistance Program at $1.3 million and Minority and Women-Owned Business Development Lending Program at $635,000.

- Restores $4.2 million to the Neighborhood Preservation Program and $1.7 million to the Rural Preservation Program, for affordable housing, community renewal and economic development.

- Provides the Main Street Program, an initiative that received no funds in the Executive's budget, with $2.2 million in funding for grants and capital funds to help communities revitalize and improve their historic downtown buildings, facades, streetscapes and to support projects to anchor their downtowns.

- Merge the New York State Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation into the Department of Economic Development to more efficiently coordinate economic development initiatives.

State and Private Institutions of Higher Education Vital to NY's Economic Recovery

Throughout the budget negotiations, the Assembly advocated for its long standing belief in the critical role the state university system and the private universities and colleges have in revitalizing this state's economy. The Assembly believes these institutions are essential to preparing our residents for the highly technical jobs of the new economy. In response to the governor's cuts to higher education, the Assembly made a series of budget restorations that would:

- Increase base aid to SUNY/CUNY community colleges by 39 percent over the Executive budget proposal, with $13 million for SUNY and $5.1 million for CUNY, resulting in $88 restored per full-time student;

- Restore $60 million to the SUNY teaching hospitals, which provide graduate medical education training while serving the health care needs of surrounding communities;

- Provide new SUNY/CUNY procurement guidelines to allow SUNY/CUNY colleges, hospitals and the SUNY/CUNY Construction Fund to purchase goods without prior approval of the Attorney General or Comptroller;

- Amend the governor's budget to ensure that students attending public community colleges can receive the maximum award from the Tuition Assistance Program; and

- Extend the New York State Higher Education Capital Matching Grant Program, an initiative used by private institutions of higher learning to fund infrastructure improvements to their campuses.

Low Cost Power Program for Job Creation and Economic Development

The Assembly successfully called for the creation of Recharge New York, a new and permanent economic development discount power program aimed at providing businesses with the certainty they need to make long-term investments in our state. The program will become effective on July 1, 2012, phasing out the Power for Jobs and Energy Cost Savings Benefits programs.

The budget legislation calls for Recharge New York to be administered by the New York Power Authority (NYPA), provide 910 MW (Mega Watts) of low cost power to businesses and not-for-profits that commit to create and retain jobs and make capital investments in their facilities.

In addition, Recharge New York power contracts would be for a term of up to seven years, and participants would be required to undergo energy audits at their facilities.

This low cost power program would provide 350 MW for applicants located in the service territories of National Grid, New York State Electric and Gas, and Rochester Gas and Electric Utility Corporations. It also makes available at least 200 MW to attract or create new businesses in the state and provides up to 100 MW for not-for-profits.

Promoting Products of State's Number One Industry: Agriculture

The budget also implements the Governor's proposed "Share NY Food Initiative." This Assembly supported program seeks to increase access to affordable, nutritious food by expanding funding eligibility for farmers' markets throughout the state, thereby increasing sales opportunities for NY farmers, expanding NY agriculture, and increasing the availability of fresh food in underserved communities.

Responding to the Economic Impact of Rightsizing State Prison and Youth Facilities

The Assembly also included the Economic Transformation Tax Credit Program in the budget. This credit would aid communities where a state prison or youth facility is located and is being closed as part of the state's efforts to rightsize the resources of its correction services because of a declining prison population.

To help communities transform from the economic loss related to these closings, the Economic Transformation Tax Credit would be available for wages, qualified investments, property taxes and job training for individuals laid-off from the facilities.

The credit would be available for sales tax paid to purchase building materials during the construction period of a project approved by the Empire State Development Corporation, and an enhanced investment and property tax benefit also would be available for businesses developing the site of a closed facility.