This Week in Albany

Week ending September 29, 2017

 

New Workers’ Compensation Proposals Would Harm Workers

The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board has proposed new guidelines and regulations relating to compensation for workers injured on the job.

These new regulations would disadvantage injured workers by adding roadblocks and making it less likely that they would receive adequate compensation for on the job injuries. The changes would limit the ability of injured workers to offer evidence, allow injured workers to be interrogated outside the presence of their attorney, and would reduce awards for workers that lose the use of a body part.

CSEA has submitted comments to the Board opposing these new guidelines. Additionally, the New York State Assembly Committee on Labor held a public hearing this week where the New York State AFL-CIO raised similar concerns with legislators.

 

Another Health Care Bill Abandoned

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) announced this week that the Senate would not move forward with a vote on the latest effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act after the bill failed to garner the needed support among Republican lawmakers.

The bill was  officially scrapped  after several Republican senators, including John McCain (R-Arizona), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) declared their opposition. Republicans could only afford to lose two votes among their conference and still get a bill passed. The failure of this latest bill is good news for New Yorkers, as this proposal would have had a disproportionately negative impact on our state.

 

Tax Code Overhaul

President Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans are shifting their focus to tax reform after their latest health care bill collapsed. This new tax reform proposal would severely reduce rates for both businesses and wealthy individuals, and would hurt the average New Yorker.

The tax overhaul plan being pushed by the White House and Congressional leaders would slash tax rates for corporations, repeal the Estate Tax, reduce the number of tax brackets, increase the rate for the lowest bracket, and double the standard deduction.

Of special importance to New Yorkers is the proposed elimination of the federal deduction for state and local taxes, including property taxes. New Yorkers account for 13.5% of all state and local tax deductions in the United States, and stand to lose billions of dollars if such deductions are eliminated. A report from Governor Cuomo estimates that the loss of these deductions would cost New Yorkers an average of $5,300 per year.

 

Con Con Fact

The Government Law Center at Albany Law School and the Rockefeller Institute of Government released a report this week titled One Hundred and Six Ideas for Constitutional Change: What Commentators, Scholars, Politicians, the Media, and Pundits Have Suggested Might Merit Consideration if New York State Holds a Constitutional Convention.

Some of the ideas that “might merit consideration” are the following:

91. Evaluate constitutional protection for public-employee pensions.

92. Examine whether pensions for State and local personnel should be capped based upon the base salary.