Albany Update: Back in Session
State lawmakers will reconvene in Albany on Wednesday, June1 for the final few weeks of session. With a total of 9 days left of the 2016 Legislative Session, the remaining weeks will be a busy time in Albany. NYSAC continues to advocate for counties to ensure new programs place no additional financial burdens on county property taxpayers.
During these remaining Legislative days NYSAC's key priorities include:
Legislation moving to reimburse counties for increases in DA salaries
- Chapter Amendment for District Attorney Salaries
- Increase funding for 9-1-1 Emergency Communications
- Increase Indigent Defense Funding
Historically, when the State passed laws requiring counties to increase DA salaries, they have included State Budget funding to reimburse this local cost. Unfortunately, the recently enacted state budget does not cover the latest salary increase.
State lawmakers this week will consider legislation (S7408A, Young/A10152A, Gunther) that would reimburse counties for the DA salary increase in 2016 and cover any related state mandated increase going forward.
Indigent Defense Expansion and State Fiscal Takeover One Step Closer to Reality
On May 23, Senator DeFrancisco amended bill S.6341B, a top priority for NYSAC regarding indigent defense, making it a "same as" with Assemblymember Fahy's A.6202C. This important step means counties are closer than ever to achieving an improved, uniform statewide indigent defense system and will avoid unnecessary and costly litigation against counties for an unequal justice system.
S.6341C DeFrancisco/A.6202B Fahy Summary:This bill would require the State to reimburse counties for the costs of providing indigent defense services, including expanded services. The measure allows for an incremental state fiscal takeover over a seven year period and provides 100% annual state fiscal coverage thereafter. This bill also expands indigent defense services in all counties requiring first arraignment counsel coverage and case caps for indigent defense providers.
9-1-1 Surcharge measure provides more revenue to emergency communication systems
NYSAC has been advocating for lowering the Public Safety Surcharge, from $1.20 to $1.00 and applying it to all devices capable of connecting to the 9-1-1 system. The law should also extend to the current local surcharge authority to prepaid devices. The current hardware and software in many local 9-1-1 systems are reaching the end of their useful life and must be upgraded and/or replaced. In addition, Federal standards are requiring states to build Next Generation 9-1-1 systems that have the capability to receive information from a variety of electronic devices in various forms including text messages and images. The cost of fully transitioning to Next Generation 9-1-1 could easily exceed $10 billion over the coming years and the current revenue is not adequate for making these upgrades.
We encourage you to call your State Senator(s) and Assemblymember(s) to express your support of A10178 McDonald, strengthening our emergency communication network Statewide.
Lawmakers pass tampon tax exemption bill
On Monday, May 15 the Assembly passed A7557A Rosenthal/S7838 Serino to eliminate the sales tax on feminine hygiene products. On Wednesday, May 25, the Senate followed suit, the bill passed unanimously in both houses. The bill, which will take effect on the first day of the next sales tax quarterly period, will exempt tampons, sanitary napkins, panty liners and other related items from state sales tax.
Governor Andrew Cuomo said he plans to sign the legislation into law.
Upcoming Public Hearings on Proposed Solid Waste Management Facilities (Part 360) Regulations
This proposed rulemaking is a comprehensive revision to existing regulations. The last comprehensive revisions to the regulations governing solid waste management in New York State occurred in 1993.
Proposed regulations pertain to Material Recovery Facilities, Combustion, Thermal Treatment, Transfer, and Collection Facilities, Landfills, Waste Transporters, Biohazard Waste Management Facilities, Local Solid Waste Management Planning and State Assistance Projects. Public hearings regarding the proposed regulations and DGEIS will be held during the public comment period at the following times and locations, and written comments on these draft regulations will be accepted until July 15, 2016.
June 2, 2016, 1:00 PM: Suffolk County Water Authority Education Center, 260 Motor Parkway, Hauppauge, NY 11788
June 6, 2016, 1:00 PM: NYSDEC, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233
June 7, 2016, 1:00 PM: RIT Inn and Conference Center, Henrietta Ballroom, 5257 West Henrietta Rd., Rochester, NY 14467
June 9, 2016, 1:00 PM: NYSDEC Region 2 Office, 1 Hunter's Point Plaza, 47-40 21st Street, Long Island City, NY 11101
For additional information please see the DEC website here.
Sales Tax Collections May Show Improvement in the Second Quarter
If national economic trends are replicated in New York then we may be seeing a better economic performance in the second quarter than we did in the first. National economic data showed relatively slow GDP growth in the first quarter, clocking in at about a 0.8 percent annual rate. The lower than expected economic output in the first quarter showed up in county sales tax collections with 30 counties collecting less in the first quarter of 2016 than last year. However, nationally, consumer spending increased at the highest monthly rate in more than six years in April led by strong sales of durable goods including automobiles. The sale of non-durable goods, including items like food and clothing, also grew at a healthy pace. The strong growth in April is consistent with a recent increase in the consumer sentiment index, as well as a solid increase in salary and wages for workers nationwide. This combination of factors, if it continues, should provide for a much better second quarter in regards to economic activity.