After the Governor and legislative leaders announced agreements on priority last Friday night, the Legislature worked into early Saturday morning, with the Assembly completed its work just before 5:00 a.m.
Perhaps the kindest thing that we can say is that Unshackle Upstate is deeply disappointed about the 2016 legislative session. After enacting new paid family leave requirements and a massive minimum wage hike as part of the state’s 2016-17 budget, lawmakers did nothing to address the high costs for businesses in the state.
There seems to be some hope in April, when lawmakers created a special ‘Business Climate Task Force’ to make recommendations on ways to decrease the cost of doing business in the state in time for the Legislature to act on them before session ended. But its recommendations could only be described as milquetoast recommendations, and virtually all of them were ignored anyway.
The bottom line is that Albany’s rhetoric about ‘rebuilding the Upstate economy’ appears to be just that – rhetoric. Too many Upstate communities continue to lose jobs and population because of the state’s harsh business climate. The cost of doing business in Upstate New York is still too high. Until that changes, we will never be able to compete in the global economy. If we want to create more jobs and attract people to Upstate New York, lawmakers need to aggressively address our high taxes and hostile business climate. The 2016 legislative session fell far short of those goals. With the legislative session completed, we will now turn our attention to the November elections, where we plan to work with our partners educate Upstate voters about the failures of this legislative session so that they can help bring about positive economic change for Upstate communities.”
The end-of-session packageincludes the following measures:
- a one-year extension of Mayoral control of New York City schools, and some new city reporting requirements;
- mandating the testing for lead in public schools, with parents receiving test results;
- a one-year extender of state control of the New York Racing Association (NYRA);
- foreclosure prevention and requiring the maintenance of abandoned and vacant properties;
- additional regulatory flexibility for charter schools;
- $50 million in additional capital funding for SUNY and CUNY;
- extending the deadline for schools to implement a teacher evaluation system from September 1 to December 31; and
- accelerating the construction process on the Javits Convention Center.
Both houses also approved a bill to legalize daily fantasy sports contests passed both houses. It is unclear whether the Governor will sign it into law.
The Senate and Assembly will return for the next regular session in January 2017 unless a special session is called in the interim.