As we continue to review Governor Cuomo’s budget proposal, a few things jump out right away. The first is that, at the macro level, the plan is sound financially and does not increase taxes. The second, is that there are reforms (UI and Workers Comp) that we wholeheartedly support. Leaving the minimum wage issue aside for now, there is one more thing that is tough to ignore. The fees. Particularly the “18a Assessment”. And the nuance begins with the announcement by the administration that there are no “new fees” in the budget.
For a little background, the “18a Assessment” or “Temporary State Energy and Utility Service Conservation Assessment” is a 2% assessment (fee) on electric bills from public utilities that impact any and all that use electricity. This fee was set to expire this year and the $200 plus million dollar revenue generated has been used to fund operational costs at NYSERDA and PSC. NFIB/NY has been advocating an early sunset for this fee over the last few years and now Governor Cuomo thinks it should be extended for another 5!
Is this a tax increase? New fee? Either way, there is a lot of nuance involved when the Cuomo Administration has described this.
Either way, this fee should not be extended, it is to me a “new fee” and it will do nothing to reduce the cost of doing business in New York and will continue our distinction has having some of the highest energy costs in the nation. The devil is always in the details, and this little gem may not be known to many, but it is a prime example of how nuance can blur the facts.
NFIB/NY will advocate strongly against the continuation of the 18a Assessment over the next few months. You should too.