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Op Ed: Investing in job development

One of the ways to keep our economy moving is to invest in job development. In the 2011-12 state budget, we created the Recharge New York power program, strengthened the Excelsior Jobs program and provided capital funding for projects necessary to jumpstart New York’s economy. Now is the time to utilize everything we have to keep our economy moving. With our great natural resources, dedicated small-business owners, hardworking residents and well-educated workforce, we have the tools we need to become a leader in high-tech fields. By investing in measures that encourage economic growth, we can revitalize the state’s manufacturing sector and bring new, good-paying jobs to New York.

A permanent replacement for the Power for Jobs program is included in the final budget legislation approved by the Assembly. Recharge New York is a sustainable and predictable energy program for businesses and not-for-profits designed to protect and create jobs and encourage new capital investments. This new, permanent solution will allow strategic planning for business owners and reinvigorate confidence for those looking to relocate to our state.

Under Recharge New York, the New York Power Authority (NYPA) will provide 910 megawatts of low-cost power to businesses and not-for-profits that commit to job creation and retention and capital-investment goals. Qualified applicants will receive power purchase contracts of up to seven years, providing the certainty needed by businesses to make long-term investments and workforce commitments. To ensure energy efficiency, Recharge New York customers will be required to undergo energy audits. The Recharge New York program is the result of numerous public hearings and business roundtables conducted by the Assembly in recent years. This new-and-improved discount power program will undoubtedly enhance local economies.

The Excelsior Jobs program was established in 2010 to boost job creation and provide investment incentives to businesses in strategic industries across the state, such as manufacturing, high-tech and clean-energy jobs. The 2011-12 budget strengthens the program by enhancing tax credits and improving the program’s responsiveness.

The budget extends the program’s tax benefit period from five to 10 years and provides a jobs tax credit equal to the product of gross wages paid and 6.85 percent. Over the next decade, the program will double, which will give businesses the stability they need and provide $2.5 billion in total relief. The final budget also increases the Excelsior Research & Development tax credit from 10 percent to 50 percent of the taxpayer’s actual federal research and development credit, and bases the Excelsior Real Property tax credit on the value of a property after improvements.

The budget restores $3.9 million for employment and training programs. These programs include the Displaced Homemaker Program and the Jobs for Youth Program. Eliminating or reducing employment programs during this economic downturn would do more harm than good. By restoring funds to these vital programs, we are helping New Yorkers get back to work so our economy can flourish.

The 2011-12 budget also restores or maintains funding to a number of targeted economic development initiatives, including Urban and Community Development Program, Community Development Financial Institutions, Entrepreneurial Assistance Program, and Minority and Women-Owned Business Development Lending Program. As Chair of the Assembly Education Committee, I was pleased that we were able to maintain funding for Employment Preparation Education and Adult Basic Education.

Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan who represents the 37 Assembly District chairs the Assembly Education Committee and serves on the Corporations, Authorities and Commissions; Rules; Veterans’ Affairs; Ways and Means.

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