The County Perspective for January 18, 2018

NYSAC Analysis of the Governor's Budget Proposal, County Shared Services Testimony, Federal Updates, NYS Legislative Actions, and more.


NYSAC Update

Legislative Conference: Speaker Spotlight
The NYSAC Legislative Conference brings you nationally-recognized experts, speaking directly to the issues you face and the skills you need as a NYS county official. Register for the Legislative Conference here to join hundreds of county officials in Albany from January 29-31.
A few speaker highlights include:
Stephen Goldsmith, Daniel Paul Professor of the Practice of Government, Director of the Innovations in American Government Program, Harvard Kennedy School – KEYNOTE SPEAKER on Tuesday January 30th at 9 a.m.
Mr. Goldsmith currently directs Data-Smart City Solutions, a project to highlight local government efforts to use new technologies that connect breakthroughs in the use of big data analytics with community input to reshape the relationship between governments and citizens. He previously served as Deputy Mayor of New York and Mayor of Indianapolis, where he earned a reputation as one of the country's leaders in public-private partnerships, competition, and privatization. Stephen was also the chief domestic policy advisor to the George W. Bush campaign in 2000, the Chair of the Corporation for National and Community Service, and the district attorney for Marion County, Indiana from 1979 to 1990. He has written The Power of Social Innovation; Governing by Network: the New Shape of the Public Sector; Putting Faith in Neighborhoods: Making Cities Work through Grassroots Citizenship and The Twenty-First Century City: Resurrecting Urban America; and The Responsive City: Engaging Communities Through Data-Smart Governance.
Mark Weaver , Esq., National Communications Expert
Mark Weaver leads  Communications Counsel, Inc. a national communications consulting firm based in Columbus, Ohio. Mr. Weaver is a crisis communications expert with three decades of national experience. He has extensive experience advising public and private sector clients on crisis communications, executive speech coaching, and news media relations.

Prior to founding Communications Counsel, Mark was the Deputy Attorney General of Ohio, where he was responsible for crisis management, strategic counseling, and all communications for an agency with 1,400 employees and 50,000 cases. He also acted as a senior policy advisor and chief spokesman. While there, he co-authored a National Association of Attorneys General Management Study on communications management in five different state attorney general offices. 
His past professional assignments include serving as the Assistant Director of Public Affairs for the U.S Department of Justice, Public Information Director for a large Pennsylvania municipality, and Vice President of a national communications firm in Washington, D.C.
Mark will be presenting “Like, Dislike, Delete? Swimming in the Social Media Mainstream Without Drowning” on Tuesday 1/30 at p.m.
Ellie Nieves - Women's Leadership Speaker & Coach
Fresh out of law school, Ellie Nieves cut her teeth in the high stakes game of New York City politics. Often the youngest, and many times the only woman, sitting at the table, she earned a reputation as a much sought-after strategist. She was recruited for campaign leadership roles such as New York State Political Director and Campaign Manager for national and city-wide campaigns. Ellie eventually transitioned into the private sector and became an award-winning attorney for the Government Relations department at MetLife; later working as Chief of Staff to the President of MetLife International.
Today, Ellie Nieves is Vice President and Counsel of Government Affairs at a Fortune 500 company. She is also the Founder and President of Leadership Strategies for Women®, LLC. Ellie develops seminars and webinars to help women show up, speak up and step up in their careers and personal lives. Ellie has been featured in Hispanic Executive Magazine and was recognized as one of ten top women in business by Hudson Valley Magazine.
Ellie will be speaking at the Women's Leadership Council Working Luncheon on Monday, 1/29. To attend, register for the Legislative Conference and RSVP to Nicole at (RSVP is required).
Register for the Legislative Conference here.

State Update

NYSAC Budget Analysis
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo this week released the Executive 2018-19 State Budget proposal that attempts to close a $4 billion budget deficit by increasing state revenues from a variety of actions and reducing costs in other areas of the state spending plan. The New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) is reviewing the budget bills outlining the state's revenues and expenditures, and the language associated with the Governor's proposals, and will provide a forthcoming analysis to member county officials.
Among the budget proposals that would impact counties, and will need additional review and analysis, include:
  • Leveling the state's retail sales environment by collecting sales taxes on Internet transactions – this is similar to prior year proposals and the expected first year fiscal benefit for counties and New York City are $132 million according to the NYS Division of Budget.
  • Eliminating the sales tax exemption for Energy Service Companies (ESCO) – the initial estimates is that this will bring in an additional $38 million in sales tax revenues for counties that may have ESCO's operating within them.
  • Making the county-wide shared services panels permanent beginning in 2019 – this includes a softening of the timelines under the current law and easing the submission process, as well as providing $225 million in state matching funds for the first round of the CWSSI submissions.
  • Cutting state funding to community colleges related to a drop in enrollment
  • ​Eliminating bail for defendants who cannot afford it
  • Providing $100 million in funding for the first phase of Raise the Age Implementation
  • Providing a $7 million increase in Child Care Funding
  • Implementing a First 1000 Days initiative for at-risk children and those with special needs
  • Allowing early voting (with estimated new costs of $6 million for counties and other municipalities) and protecting election IT system against cyber hackers
  • Lowering interest rates on lawsuits against local governments, subject to federal interest rates
  • Requiring counties to have a homeless outreach program as a condition of receiving State funding for homelessness services
The NYS Department of Taxation and Finance is expected to release a preliminary report in a few days that outlines possible state tax reforms designed to mitigate the impact of the federal tax reforms that capped SALT deductions. There are many other programs that could have a direct or indirect impact on all or specific counties, and NYSAC will report on those proposals at the NYSAC Legislative Conference on January 30th.

New York State Plastic Bag Task Force Report Released
In March 2017, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo created the New York State Plastic Bag Task Force, a working group charged with developing a report and proposed legislation to address the detrimental impact of plastic bags on the state's environment.  The Task Force was led by the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos and co-chaired by Senator Thomas O'Mara and Assemblyman Steve Englebright.  The Task Force also included NYSAC Executive Director Stephen Acquario; Marcia Bystryn from the New York League of Conservation Voters; and Michael Rosen from the Food Industry Alliance.

This past weekend, the Task Force released its report to combat bag waste.  It includes an analysis of the impacts of single-use plastic bags and provides several options for legislation that could help develop a statewide solution to the problem. The options are as follows:
  • Strengthen and Enforce Existing New York State Plastic Bag Reduction, Reuse and Recycling Act – Continue implementation of the existing New York State Plastic Bag Reduction, Reuse and Recycling Act while increasing education, enforcement and reporting requirements.
  • Manufacturer Responsibility for Recycling of Single-Use Plastic Bags – Require manufacturers to fund and implement a program for the collection and recycling of single-use plastic bags.
  • Fee on Single-Use Plastic Bags – Institute a fee on single-use plastic bags.
  • Fee per Transaction for Single-Use Bags – Under this option, rather than a fee per bag, a single fee would be imposed for the use of single-use bags (i.e., a fee would be assessed whether a consumer received one bag or 10 bags).
  • Fee on Single-Use Plastic and Paper Bags – Institute of fee of more than five cents per bag.
  • Ban Single-Use Plastic Bags – Implement a ban on the sale and use of single-use plastic bags.
  • Hybrid – Implement a ban on plastic bags with a fee on the allowable alternatives.
  • Continue Existing Policies – Continue implementation of the existing New York State Plastic Bag Reduction, Reuse and Recycling Act.
Several counties across the state have passed or considered their own bag legislation.  Just this month, Suffolk County's local law requiring stores to charge customers a minimum five cent fee on carryout bags went into effect.  It is now time for the Governor and State Legislature to take on this issue. Click here to view the full report. 

Assembly Holds Public Hearing on Shared Services Initiative
On January 16, the Assembly Standing Committees on Local Governments and Cities held a budget oversight hearing to examine the implementation of County-Wide Shared Services Property Tax Savings Plans.  Several county officials testified about their experience with the initiative and the proposals they developed, including Onondaga County Executive Joanne Mahoney, Montgomery County Executive Matthew Ossenfort, and Suffolk County Deputy County Executive Jon Kaiman.

The testimony delivered by NYSAC Executive Director Stephen Acquario highlighted the long history of shared services among local governments and the need for mandate relief. Click here to read NYSAC's full testimony and view the county-wide shared service plans submitted to the Department of State. Click here to watch a video of the proceedings.

This public hearing came after Governor Cuomo proposed to make the shared services panels permanent in his 2018 State of the State address.  Read more about the proposal and the reaction of several local government officials in the Governor's press release.

Legislative Update
The week of January 8th marked the second week of the 2018 Legislative Session. This was the first full week of legislative activity.  The Assembly acted on legislation for the first time this year, passing 15 bills. Each of these was a measure that had passed their house in 2017 but hadn't been approved by the Senate. The Senate passed nine pieces of legislation, including seven chapter amendments to legislation signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo last year (2017). One of the bills passed by the Senate was a measure to make permanent the property tax cap.
On Tuesday, January 9th the Senate Majority presented their 2018 agenda called the “Blueprint for a Stronger New York.” The blueprint focuses on Initiatives that help families and seniors afford to stay in their communities.  In the Assembly, Speaker Carl Heastie opened session last Monday outlining the conference's agenda. The assembly's 2018 agenda includes strong support for:  
  • Bail reform so that eligible defendants are not caught up in a modern-day debtor's prison;
  • Discovery of evidence and speedy trial reforms so that defendants are treated fairly; and
  • Ending the overuse of solitary confinement.
  • Treatment and prevention for substance abuse
  • Immigration policy
2018 Women's Agenda For New York: Equal Rights, Equal Opportunity
On Thursday January 11, 2018 Secretary to the Governor, Melisa DeRosa presented Governor Cuomo's 2018 Women's Agenda for New York: Equal Rights, Equal Opportunity and released the Report on the Status of New York Women and Girls: 2018 Outlook. The Agenda includes 30 proposals that will advance equality and promote opportunity in women and girls' health, safety, workplace, and family life. The full Report on the Status of New York Women and Girls: 2018 Outlook is available here.
The agenda is broken down into five categories:

  • Pass the Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act
  • Codify Roe V. Wade into State Law and Constitution
  • Improve Access to IVF and Fertility Preservation Services
  • Launch Multi-Agency Effort to Combat Maternal Depression
  • Establish the Maternal Mortality Review Board to Save Lives
  • Add Experts in Women's Health and Health Disparities to the State Board of Medicine
  • Pass the Equal Rights Amendment
  • Remove Firearms from Domestic Abusers
  • End Sextortion and Revenge Porn
  • Extend the Storage Timeline for Forensic Rape Kits at Hospitals
  • Extend Human Rights Law Protections to All Public School Students Statewide
  • Combat Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
  • Call on the New York State Common Retirement Fund to Invest in Companies with Women and Minority Leadership
  • Reauthorize MWBE Program Legislation and Expand the MWBE Program to All State-Funded Contracts
  • Establish the Women Lead Fellowship for Women in Government
  • Ensure Pay Equity and Close the Gender Wage Gap
  • Support Women Returning to or Advancing in the WorkforcePower
  • Power Women-Owned Businesses by Taking Steps to Close the Financing Gap
  • Establish New York State as a Model Employer for Working Parents
  • Close the Gender Gap by Giving the Youngest Learners Access to Computer Science and Engineering
  • Launch “If You Can See It You Can Be It” A Day For Girls to See What is Possible
  • Continue the Successful New York State Mentoring Program
  • Create the “Be Aware-Be Informed” Learning Module to Empower Young People to Forge Healthy Relationships
  • Ensure Access to Menstrual Products in Public Schools 
  • Implement the Nation's Most Comprehensive Paid Family Leave Policy
  • Invest $25 Million to Expand Vital Pre-K and After-School Program
  • Increase State Funding to Provide Working Families with Affordable Child Care
  • Establish the Child Care Availability Task Force
  • Ensure Equal Access to Diaper Changing Stations in Public Restrooms
  • Implement the Nation's Most Comprehensive Paid Family Leave Policy

Federal Update
U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Case on Internet Sales Tax

The Supreme Court has indicated it will hear a case that will look again at the 1992 Quill Corp. vs. North Dakota case, which decided that retailers without a place of business within a state could not be required to collect sales tax for transactions conducted over the Internet. States have complained for more than a decade that the Internet is different today than when that decision was made over 25 years ago and that states are losing tens of billions of dollars annually in lost sales tax collections that currently go unpaid. In 2017, six states enacted laws to help address the problem of uncollected sales taxes including; Alabama, Indiana, North Dakota, Virginia, Tennessee and Wyoming. Governor Cuomo has proposed similar legislation that was designed to level the playing field between brick and mortar neighborhood stores and online retailers the last couple of budget cycles, but these proposals were not enacted. The Supreme Court should make a decision on this new case by the Fall.
New Federal Funding Deadline Hits January 19th
Congress again is facing another federal funding deadline for this Friday. If a full year funding bill, or temporary (weeks or months) funding measure is not enacted other federal government would shut down. If this were to occur federal employees that are deemed “non-essential” to health and safety would be furloughed until funding is provided. It is not expected that a government shutdown will occur, but Congress is far apart on how to handle additional funding for the military, spending cuts to discretionary programs, how to handle immigration among a host of other items; including additional disaster aid from hurricanes, wild fires and other natural disasters. Another short-term measure is likely. The next hard deadline is in March when the President's administrative decision to end the DACA (deferred action for childhood arrivals) deportation protections for people brought to the country by their parents when they were minors would be enforceable.

Training and Grant Opportunities

NYMIR Offers Harassment and Distracted Driving Training
The New York Municipal Insurance Reciprocal (NYMIR) will provide timely training on harassment and distracted driving in Herkimer and Fulton counties on January 24th and 25th respectively. These trainings are available to employees of counties and municipalities who belong to or are considering NYMIR for their property and casualty insurance. Similar training sessions will be made available in the near future in other NYMIR member counties or on a regional basis.
If you have any questions on these trainings or would like information on future training opportunities in your county, please contact Susan O'Rorke, NYMIR Vice President of Member Services at 518-292-0057 or
New York State Cyber Security Conference - Submit Your Presentations Today! 
June 5-6, 2018
Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY
To submit a presentation:
June 2018 marks the 21st annual New York State Cyber Security Conference (NYSCSC ‘18). Share your experience and knowledge with this year's attendees by submitting a presentation and/or training proposal. The 2018 conference will be held on June 5 and 6 with training sessions held on June 7. The event takes place in Albany, and is co-hosted by the New York State Office of Information Technology Services (NYS ITS), the University at Albany's School of Business, and The NYS Forum, Inc. Last year's conference drew more than 1,300 attendees.
Attendees include all government levels, academia, businesses, not-for-profit organizations and citizens.
Proposals will be accepted for:
  • Individual or team presentations.
  • Panel discussions – panel may be organized and submitted as a group by a panel coordinator, or an individual may submit his/her particular viewpoint to become part of a panel.
  • Training sessions featuring real world scenarios and advanced techniques. 
  • Breakout sessions will run 50 minutes, including 10 minutes for Q and A on June 5 and 6.
  • Training sessions will be half day (3 hours) or full day (5-6 hours) on June 7.
  • Presentation and training selections will be made based upon desired topics, flow of content, educational value and understanding of the content.
  • Only product neutral presentations that are cybersecurity related will be considered.