NY Legislature passes last-minute $10B tax break
Chris Bragg is reporting for the Times Union that the state Legislature passed a bill last week characterized by opponents as the largest industry-specific tax break ever granted by New York’s government. The measure was adopted with little public debate and near the end of the legislative session. Once signed into law it would provide large, private businesses up to $10 billion in state tax credits over 20 years to promote the growth of new, so-called green semiconductor manufacturing projects. The legislation was introduced at the request of Gov. Kathy Hochul's office, approved by the Senate on June 1 and by the Assembly on June 4, before it adjourned. Watchdog groups have questioned why the bill, regardless of its merits, was hastily pushed by Hochul's office. "This is like the ugliest of Albany," said John Kaehny, executive director of Reinvent Albany. "In this type of fog, the governor’s office can misinform the Legislature, and do it all at the last second." Kristin Devoe, a spokesperson for Empire State Development, the governor's economic development arm, said the bill's late-session introduction was simply a matter of the proposal being "developed very recently." She said the legislation was a way to capitalize on the anticipated passage of a bill introduced by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer in Congress, to expand semiconductor production nationwide, putting New York "in the best position to stand apart from the other states and countries who are trying to attract the semiconductor industry." The Assembly passed the measure using a "fast roll call," where lawmakers are assumed to be in the affirmative, unless they indicate otherwise. The only person recorded in the negative at the time of the vote was Queens Assemblymember Ron Kim, a Democrat. Read the full story in the Times Union.