Monthly Archives: December 2013

State broadband grants extend coverage to 30,000 upstate

Empire State Development has approved $14.5 million in New York State Broadband Grants to extend coverage to nearly 30,000 residents and more than 2,000 businesses in upstate New York. Nine projects, covering Yates, Essex, Oswego, Franklin, Clinton and Hamilton counties, as well as the Southern Tier, received the grants.

“Access to high speed internet is a critical resource for businesses and residents in today’s global economy,” said Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in announcing the grants.

Xerox moves scanner facility from China to Canandaigua

Gannett News Service is reporting that Business Council member Xerox will relocate a manufacturing operation from China to the nanotechnology center in Canandaigua.

Reporter Joe Spector writes the move will mean 100 jobs over five years at the growing SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) Smart System Technology & Commercialization Center in Canandaigua. The state will provide $750,000 to the Canandaigua Center to help set up the new facility.

Xerox is negotiating a five-year contract agreement with the college to purchase optical scanners once the production line is transferred to the Canandaigua site. The jobs are expected to be researchers, engineers and technicians employed by the college and Xerox.

“As a global company, we manufacture around the world and have made the decision to bring this optics assembly project to New York where we can invest locally for key scanning technology requirements,” said Lee Nunziato, Xerox’s technology procurement manager.

Court of Appeals medical monitoring decision

This week, New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, delivered a victory for business in Caronia v. Philip Morris USA, Inc.  The Business Council of New York State, Inc. had joined with other business groups in filing an amicus brief urging the court to reject “medical monitoring” class actions under state law.

In one of the most important product-liability cases this year, in a 4-2 decision, the court rejected the attempt to make businesses pay for the costs of medical check-ups before the plaintiffs prove they have been injured.  If allowed, many companies, across a broad section of industries, would have faced lawsuits based on injuries that could have developed someday, probably leading the company to economic distress through frivolous lawsuits.

The Court of Appeals’ decision adopted the arguments presented in the amicus brief, saying New York law requires proof of harm.  The court said it would not deviate from well-established law to allow the pursuit of claims that showed no harm.

Jump starting New York Green Bank

Governor Cuomo announced $210 million in initial funding for NY Green Bank, a market oriented approach to accelerate clean energy deployment, create jobs, and help make our communities more resilient and sustainable. Initial funding combines $165 million redirected from other programs and approved today by the Public Service Commission (PSC) and $45 million from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

“Affordable, reliable energy is key for economic growth across New York. Through the Green Bank, Governor Cuomo, the PSC and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority are taking positive actions to balance today’s energy needs with our longer term objectives to transition to a cost-effective, clean energy system,” said Heather C. Briccetti, Esq., president and CEO of The Business Council. “The Business Council supports the market transformative opportunities that will be promoted through the Green Bank.”

With today’s PSC approval, the NY Green Bank is expected to open for business and offer its first financial products in early 2014. The NY Green Bank will partner with private sector institutions by providing financial products such as credit enhancement, loan loss reserves and loan bundling to support securitization and build secondary markets. These products will support economically viable clean energy projects that cannot currently access financing due to market barriers, such as federal policy uncertainty, insufficient performance data, and the lack of publicly traded capital markets for clean energy.

Visit the NY Green Bank initiative for more information.

Recharge NY Power Allocations

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) Board of Trustees has approved another round of low-cost power allocations under the ReCharge NY (RNY) program.  The nearly 33 megawatts (MW) of low-cost power will be distributed among 47 enterprises at 53 facilities and are expected to leverage an estimated $1 billion in capital investments.  Nearly 17,000 jobs are being supported by this round of allocations.

This is the seventh round of power allocations under the RNY program, which stems from legislation signed by the Governor in 2011. The program, administered by NYPA, is designed to spur economic development throughout the state by providing low-cost power to businesses and other entities that agree to create or retain jobs.

For more information on the allocations, visit Governor Cuomo’s website.

Contract Procurement: Overcoming barriers to New York businesses

The Public Policy Institute of New York State, Inc. (PPI), the research and education arm of The Business Council of New York State, Inc. released an in-depth study on contract procurement.  The report, Re-examining Issues in Procurement, addresses the challenges companies face when doing business with state and local governments.

The PPI report concludes New York state needs to modernize its procurement process with innovative best practices for the benefit of taxpayers, current vendors and the very companies the state is trying to attract through regional councils and programs like and Start-UP NY. The current process is cumbersome and can cause delays and increase costs for all parties.

The recommendations in the report show what can be done to increase competition, streamline the procurement process, and open avenues of communication between the vendor community and the state.

Read the full report on PPI’s website.  View the press release here.

New York’s millionaire PACs

Capital New York is reporting that of the nearly 2,000 political action committees in New York that reported activity in the 2013 general election, eight ended the year with a balance of more than $1 million.

This doesn’t include committees that didn’t actively participate in the 2013 campaigns, whose fund-raising activities won’t be disclosed till January.

Of the eight PAC’s with money left over, only one was a business PAC.

Read the full article on the Capital New York website.

State tourism progress report

The state’s tourism initiatives showing that the number of visitors to New York increased by 8.8 million this year. The industry is projected to generate $7.7 billion in state and local taxes with direct spending expected to reach $61.3 billion and add 24,800 jobs by the end of the year.

In the last year, New York’s tourism industry has grown in revenue, job creation, the number of visitors, and hotel occupancy.  In 2013, the tourism industry is projected to generate $7.7 billion in state and local taxes. Direct spending is projected to reach $61.3 billion, an increase of 7 percent since 2012.

This year, Governor Cuomo kicked off the state’s tourism efforts by hosting the Tourism Summit in Albany, which The Business Council participated in.  He announced $60 million in tourism funding – the highest level of tourism funding in decades – as well as other initiatives including: a new I Love NY marketing campaign with the Port Authority and MTA, Taste NY marketing efforts, an international tourism campaign, I Love NY in Times Square, and I Love NY LGBT.

More information on the report is available online here.

State progress report on minority and women-owned firms

Governor Cuomo released an end of the year progress report on New York state’s commitment to connecting minority and women-owned businesses (MWBEs) showing the state had surpassed its goal of providing 20 percent of state contracts MWBEs.

The Governor announced in October that the utilization of MWBEs in state contracts had reached a record 21 percent.  In all, $1,488 billion in contracts from a total of 97 public agencies and authorities were awarded to MWBEs in FY 2012-1013. While overall government spending is down from 2011, the amount earned by MWBEs is up from 1.1 billion in 2010-11 and from 486 million in 2006-7.

In 2011, Governor Cuomo established by executive order a statewide team to explore ways to eliminate barriers and expand the participation MWBEs in state contracting. The measure was a swift response to a 2010 disparity study that concluded that state MWBEs were “suffered business-related discrimination in larger numbers and with statistically significantly greater frequency than non MWBEs.”

Read more on the Governor’s website.

If you are a minority or women-owned business or a small business looking for business opportunities, don’t miss our event on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 to meet some of New York’s leading businesses at our MWBE and Small Business Networking Reception.