Changes in State law seek to help economy, offer better services to seniors


    By: Michael H. Ranzenhofer

    As I outlined in my column in July, the 2014 Legislative Session could be characterized as productive, especially when considering many of the new policies to lower New York’s heavy tax burden.  


    Additionally, two bills which I sponsored in the State Senate will also help to keep New York moving forward.  I have been working to usher these two initiatives through the legislative process for the past eight months. Here is an update on the progress made for both proposals:


    First, Senate Bill No. 7196B corrects a wrong in the State tax code, in an effort to help New York manufacturers expand their business and create more jobs.


    Known as the QEZE tax credit, it was designed to encourage employment in New York State. However, the Tax Department has discouraged manufacturers from utilizing the credit towards products exported outside the State.  Therefore, the law has proven ineffective, hampering economic growth and employment.


    For example, one New York State company abandoned plans for a $5 million expansion and 25 new full-time jobs because the credits did not apply to goods sold in non-New York State markets.


    Simply put, this is not solid economic policy. Tax relief should not just apply to products sold in New York State. Tax relief should apply to products sold in New York, as well as those not sold in New York, as a way to boost productivity and economic growth.  That is why I introduced legislation to amend the State tax law to include income from all products for purposes of claiming the tax credit. 


    Second, Senate Bill No. 2118B changes the State Public Health Law to permit continuing care retirement communities (CCRC) to offer “life care at home.”   


    Seniors have already done so much for our local community. This bill would benefit seniors by offering them additional affordable care options, leading to more seniors remaining independent and lower health care costs for New York and county governments.


    Under current law, CCRCs are not allowed to offer Life Care at Home contracts for seniors still living at home, while participating in programs outside the campus community. As a result, senior health care costs have skyrocketed, forcing increased enrollment in Medicaid.


    If enacted into law, seniors will be able to choose between purchasing Life Care administered at a campus setting or delivered at their home from a CCRC, helping more seniors take advantage of CCRC services not already offered to them.


    These two bills have passed the Senate and Assembly although neither has been signed into law just yet. Both proposals are expected to be sent to the Executive Chamber soon, and I am hopeful that the Governor will sign these bills into law.

    Senator Ranzenhofer's monthly column appeared in the Amherst and Clarence Bee on August 20th.