Building upon its efforts to combat the unemployment crisis through innovative job creation and retention initiatives, the State Senate Majority passed legislation to create a permanent “Economic Benefit Power Program” to streamline and build on the success of ‘Power for Jobs’ and other successful low cost power for economic development programs.
The new program (S7573A/Aubertine) will protect more than 250,000 jobs statewide. As part of this program, qualifying businesses around the state will be offered seven-year agreements for low-cost energy providing them the financial stability to attract and maintain long-term employment commitments.
Previously, the Legislature would enact an annual approval leaving employers in limbo and undermining the ability of the state to use this highly successful program to attract new businesses to New York.
This bill is one of several pieces of legislation enacted or moving through the legislative process as a result of the Majority’s Powering New York’s Future initiative: statewide discussions with businesses and other stakeholders used to determine actions the Legislature could undertake to make New York a more business-friendly state.
Senator Darrel J. Aubertine (D-Cape Vincent), sponsor of the bill and vice chair of the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee said, “By passing legislation today that is based on the recommendations of employers and economic development experts, in advance of the May 15 deadline and with bipartisan support, we are demonstrating the Senate’s commitment to preserving and creating jobs statewide. In this time of budget constraints and economic crisis, this is legislation that will expand an already successful program and foster the economic growth we need to emerge from these difficult times stronger.”
Senate Majority Conference Leader John L. Sampson said, “More power means more jobs for New Yorkers. Expanding job creation and economic development resources by lowering energy costs attracts the businesses we need to move our economy forward. I applaud Senators Aubertine, Valesky, Stewart-Cousins, Johnson, and Foley for continuing the Majority’s efforts to get New Yorkers working again.”
Senator David J. Valesky (D-Oneida) said, “Power for Jobs has proven to be a real winner for New York State. By making the program permanent, we can insure that jobs created will be protected in the long-term.”
Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D/WF-Westchester) said, "Extension of the Power for Jobs and Energy Cost Savings Benefit Programs will achieve a permanent and sustainable positive impact on our State's economy. The models for moving our State forward need to explore alternative methods of job creation and environmental conservation. This legislation will not only benefit small businesses and create jobs, it will also enhance the growth of a green economy for our future. I am grateful for Senator Aubertine's leadership on this issue, and I look forward to this legislation becoming law.”
Senator Brian X. Foley (D–Blue Point) said, "Our number one priority is to create and retain jobs in New York State. Advancing this crucial legislation will help put New Yorkers back to work and turn the corner on this economic recession. I am pleased to work with my colleagues as we tap into New York’s power to enhance economic development and move our state forward.”
The Senate’s program is open to all businesses and non-profits (with the exception retail), including current NYPA participants in substantial compliance with contractual commitments.
The criteria for eligibility include:
- Significance of power costs to the employer’s viability.
- Extent to which benefits will result in new investment and the willingness of applicant to commit to new investments.
- Performance under prior NYPA programs.
- Size of applicant’s payroll, jobs created or retained and willingness to commit to job targets.
- Risk that facility could close or relocate, causing job loss and the facility’s local economic significance.
- Whether a not-for-profit provides critical services or substantial benefits to community.
- Prior energy audits and/or efficiency investments and a willingness to become more efficient.
- Consistency with the state’s energy plan – performance under prior NYPA programs – and state and local development plans.
The Senate’s bill also takes a comprehensive approach to using low-cost power and the resources of the New York Power Authority to maximize the retention and creation of jobs across the state. Included is a formula to increase the power available for job creation while limiting the impact on Rural and Domestic Power allocations that subsidize farms, businesses and homeowners in communities receiving hydropower benefits, in full, up to $70 million for 2011 and 2012, $60 million in 2013, $50 million in 2014, and $40 million in 2015, where it would be frozen moving forward.