Sens. Aubertine, Maziarz, Gov release new plan to make program permanent, focus on Upstate
ALBANY (May 18, 2010)—State Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine today voted to extend Power for Jobs until June 2, which will keep the program in place for employers statewide saving around 250,000 jobs while negotiations on a final bill continue. The Assembly proposed this extender in the absence of a position in that house on Power for Jobs.
“I’m disappointed it came to this, but the fact remains that each and every one of the quarter of a million jobs tied to this program is critically important. We agreed to this action in order to prevent layoffs,” said Sen. Aubertine, vice chair and ranking majority member of the Senate Energy & Telecommunications Committee. “It should never have come to this but we will continue to work. We passed legislation in the Senate with bipartisan support on May 4, well in advance of the May 15 deadline. Since then we have continued negotiating.”
The Senate passed legislation introduced by Sen. Aubertine and Energy Committee Chair Sen. George Maziarz of Newfane by a vote of 58-3 to make the program permanent, increase the power available for economic development, and streamline the program to make it more efficient for employers. The two Senators have since continued to negotiate, agreeing to a new proposal with the Governor this week called “Energize New York.”
“All the legislation we have seen is based on input from open meetings across the state from Massena to Long Island and Niagara Falls to Kingston,” Sen. Aubertine said. “On many of the major points there is agreement in all of these bills from both houses and the Governor, but still we lack a three-way agreement. We worked through the weekend with the governor’s office and came to a new two-way agreement that protects Upstate New York, farmers, rural and domestic customers, and meets the needs of businesses and not-for-profit employers.”
The Powering New York’s Future Initiative collected input from businesses and other stakeholders across the state through roundtables and hearings. The input of employers, economic development experts and other stakeholders was sought to aid the Legislature in its effort to better use the resources of the New York Power Authority to make New York more business-friendly
“I’m optimistic we can resolve our differences by the June 2 deadline,” Sen. Aubertine said. “The latest plan worked out with the governor’s office dedicates a minimum of 300 megawatts of power for economic development in Upstate New York from the Albany area north and west, which will ensure that jobs are saved and created in these regions. It also protects our farmers with a $5 million benefit.”
The latest agreement would include the following:
· Redeployment of the 455 megawatts of Rural and Domestic Power to create a new and permanent 910 megawatt blended rate economic development program that will offer reduced rate power in seven year contracts to businesses and institutions that meet selection criteria. Of which:
o At least 300 megawatts would be limited to the service territories that served the Rural and Domestic customers (NYSEG, RG&E, and National Grid);
o At least 200 megawatts would be set aside for business attraction and expansion; and
o Up to 100 megawatts would be set aside for not-for-profits and small businesses.
· Selection criteria will include among other factors: the applicant’s payroll; number of jobs that would be created or retained; risk of the applicant leaving the Sate; significance of electricity costs to the applicant; and energy efficiency commitments.
· Permanent electricity bill mitigation for Rural and Domestic customers that would be phased down from $100 million in the first year of the program to $30 million per year on a permanent basis. Farmers that received Rural and Domestic benefits would be eligible for $5 million per year carve out to support electricity discounts.
· The new program would begin accepting applications on January 31, 2011.
The Energize New York program will be a valuable tool to retain our existing workforce, particularly in manufacturing, and will also be used to attract new business investment in the State.
“For more than a decade, Power for Jobs has successfully preserved jobs here in New York State, but to reach its full potential of creating new jobs we need to expand the resources available and end its dependence on the Legislature for renewal,” Sen. Aubertine said. “This bipartisan agreement reached with Governor Paterson achieves our goal of creating a permanent new program. It is critically important for more than a quarter of a million New Yorkers dependent on jobs supported by this program, that the Assembly joins us in this bipartisan legislation immediately.”