Monthly Archives: December 2014

Six out of 10 upstate urban schools fail 90 percent of students

Six out of 10 upstate urban schools fail 90 percent of students according to new statewide report issued by Families for Excellent Schools, a pro-charter school organization.

The report says that in 58 percent of schools in the “Big Four” cities—Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Yonkers—90 percent or more of children failed this year’s English and math exams or were deemed unprepared for college. Only four schools in those cities graduate a majority of students who are proficient on state exams or college ready, according to the report.

For example, in 42 Buffalo schools that enroll more than 21,000 children, “no more than 1 in 10 students is academically proficient or college ready,” according to the report. The only two schools where at least half the students are proficient or college ready serve mostly white students, although the average school in the district is only 20 percent white, the report said.

The report concludes, “New jobs and new industries are emerging throughout New York State. But the widespread failure of public schools jeopardizes this growth—especially in urban areas outside New York City.”

The complete report can be found here.

Don’t be “foolish” with state surplus

In an editorial, the Staten Island Advance adds its voice to The Business Council’s call for state leaders to use the state’s estimated $5 billion in surplus money for infrastructure improvements.

“The surplus money would bring a one-shot infusion of revenue, not a permanent increase in the revenue stream. So calls to use it to increase funding for education or health care, for example, are foolish.

“What happens after the $5 billion is exhausted? The people of the state would be left with recurring annual bills permanently ratcheted up based upon the one-time infusion.

“Better to spend the money on a one-time fix of the state’s roads and bridges that will hold for a while.”

Read the complete editorial here.

Draft air pollution rule could cost New York jobs, raise energy costs

Facing a court order to issue a draft air pollution rule before December 1, the Environmental Protection Agency has issued a proposal that could be the costliest regulation of all time.

A new study by NERA Economic Consulting commissioned by the National Association of Manufacturers reveals that a more 60 ppb ozone standard could reduce GDP by $270 billion per year and carry a compliance price tag of $2.2 trillion from 2017 to 2040, increasing energy costs and placing millions of jobs at risk.

In New York the study predicts such a standard could potentially cause a $399 billion loss in Gross State Product from 2017 to 2040 and the loss of 235,241 jobs or job equivalents per year. The rule would also increase New York residential electricity and natural gas rates and force the eventual shutdown at all coal-fired generating capacity in the state.

At this price, the NAM estimates that it would be the most expensive regulation the U.S. government has ever issued.

The Business Council opposes the draft rule and urges members to express opposition to the proposal by sending a letter from the manufacturing works website. The Business Council will will update members regarding the latest news surrounding the issue.

NAM president and CEO Jay Timmons issued this statement in response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) announcement of an expanded ozone standard:

“Manufacturers in the United States are working hard for a manufacturing comeback, attempting to utilize America’s unmatched energy resources, building hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of new facilities across the country. These are the facilities that make advanced cars and trucks, steel pipelines, fertilizer to grow our crops and roofing and insulation that keep our energy bills down. This new ozone regulation threatens to be the most expensive ever imposed on industry in America and could jeopardize recent progress in manufacturing by placing massive new costs on manufacturers and closing off counties and states to new business by blocking projects at the permitting stage.

“This new standard comes at the same time dozens of other new EPA regulations are being imposed that collectively place increased costs, burdens and delays on manufacturers, threaten our international competitiveness and make it nearly impossible to grow jobs. Before the Obama Administration moves the goalposts with yet another set of requirements that will make it more difficult for manufacturers across the country, they need to allow existing ozone standards to be implemented and give time to American businesses to meet those already stringent and onerous requirements.”

Business Council CEO: NY should repeal the Scaffold Law to maximize infrastructure investment

In an op-ed published in the Syracuse Post-Standard, Heather C. Briccetti, Esq., president and CEO of the Business Council, says “New York has a unique opportunity to jump-start its  infrastructure program, by using $5 billion in one-time state revenues for repair and replacement, and a chance to maximize the return on its investments by extending design-build contracting and repealing the Scaffold Law.

“It is encouraging to see consensus building around using a large portion of the state’s $5 billion, one-time settlement income for rebuilding public infrastructure, including roads, bridges, water, sewer and others. It makes sense to use one-shot revenues for capital projects rather than recurring expenses.

“It would make even more sense for the state to adopt key reforms to ensure taxpayers get the biggest bang for their infrastructure buck. They include repealing the antiquated and excessively expensive Scaffold Law and extending and expanding “design-build” project authority without costly add-ons.”

You can read the entire op-ed on the Syracuse.com Website.