The new state budget has been approved, and with it a host of economic development features that may be of interest to the local business and legislative community. Here are some highlights:
Middle class taxes will continue to go down, in a phased in strategy between now and 2025. This will affect income earners between $40,000 and $300,000. The state will also develop an alternative Employer Compensation Expense Program aimed at reducing personal income tax on wages that might be affected by the new Federal tax plan. The state tax code will also be decoupled from the Federal code in places where increases might automatically be necessary under the new Federal program.
Funds will be made available for workforce investments to support strategic regional efforts to meet businesses’ short-term workforce needs, improve regional talent pipelines, expand apprenticeships, and address the long term needs of expanding industries such as clean energy and technology. This is aimed at helping the workforce of tomorrow find opportunities today to grow and prosper, and hopefully stay here in New York State rather than seeking careers elsewhere.
Regional economic development councils will be continued for the eighth year, with a wide range of programs totaling $750 million. There will also be $100 million allocated for the Downtown Revitalization Program Round III. The Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit will be extended, and there will be expanded investment in areas as far ranging as Photonics (Rochester), Life Sciences (Capital Region), the Olympic Regional Development Authority and lodging/tourism (North Country) and Industrial Hemp production (Southern Tier). The MWBE Program, which was due to expire this year, has been extended for FY2019.
The Environmental Protection Fund will continue receiving massive resources ($300 million), and there will be continued investment in clean water infrastructure and the completion of the Hudson River Park in New York City. Increased funds will support higher education, combat the opioid epidemic, improve public safety, repair and upgrade transportation infrastructure, and combat homelessness and sexual abuse.
-Jennifer Maher, Chairwoman, the Putnam County Chamber of Commerce, “A business advocacy group”