For the first time in a long time, a Governor has placed greater tax relief for businesses and families front and center as a major priority for the legislative session. That’s a great place from which to start in 2014. My colleagues and I in the Senate are eager partners in achieving this shared goal of reducing the cost of living and working in our state. In this regard, our agendas are very compatible.
Eliminating the corporate tax on manufacturers, for example, which the Senate previously recommended in November, is the kind of thing that will lead to job creation and business investment in Upstate New York. We must work together to reform our tax policies, while at the same time we should support the direction of more state aid to the region to create even more jobs, such as through the new Genome Center for Western New York.
As Chairman of the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee, I’m particularly interested in eliminating the 18-a utility assessment as quickly as possible, advancing our solar energy infrastructure, promoting biomass as a fuel source, and making it easier and faster to upgrade our state’s electricity transmission network—all items touched upon by the Governor. This last item is very important because a streamlined transmission upgrade process through current right-of-ways and state-owned lands will mean that more energy generated in Upstate New York can be sent Downstate. That will lead to more jobs and lower utility bills, a win-win. Reforming the transmission siting process will be a top priority of mine during the 2014 session.