Tag Archives: Workers’ compensation

Cuomo budget has $21 billion for Sandy relief

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Sandy, education and economic development were top priorities in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive budget, but despite the unexpected costs from the storm, the proposed plan eliminates a $1.3 billion gap with no new taxes or fees.

“By making difficult decisions over the past two years we have brought stability, predictability, and common sense to the state’s budget process,” said Cuomo.

“Sandy caused widespread destruction and as we begin the daunting task of rebuilding in southern Queens and the Rockaways, the governor’s proposal focuses on our needs by including $21 billion for disaster-related recovery, rebuilding and mitigation,” said Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder.

But the budget doesn’t stop at Sandy.

It increases education aid by $889 million, or an average of more than $300 per student, raises the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $8.75, and reforms the Workers’ Compensation system, saving more than $900 million.

In addition to money set aside for Sandy relief, another part of the budget is also good news for the borough.

The plan extends a film tax credit, which is set to expire at the end of 2014, for five more years.

“New York’s film tax credit has made our film industry an economic success story during an otherwise difficult economy,” said State Senator Michael Gianaris. “As the home for some of New York’s largest film production studios, western Queens has earned its reputation as Hollywood East thanks to this incentive program. I applaud Governor Cuomo for his ongoing support of the film tax credit and look forward to seeing western Queens continue to benefit from this important job-creating tool.”

On Tuesday Cuomo also announced a new website, Openbudget.ny.gov, which gives the public access to the state’s budget.

“Open Budget is bringing the people back into government by taking budget data out of government file cabinets and making it available to the public for the first time in an easy-to-access, downloadable form. This will facilitate research, analysis and innovation,” said Cuomo.

Workers’ compensation rates reduced for first time since 2008

| Phertling@queenscourier.com

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced that New York state employers will see a reduction in workers’ compensation premium rates for the first time in four years.

Policyholders will see a decrease of 1.2 percent, the first reduction since 2008.

The rate reduction is a result of efforts by the governor’s administration over the past 18 months to modernize, improve efficiency and decrease waste in the workers’ compensation system.

“For years, the workers’ compensation system has been too costly for businesses and ineffective for injured workers,” said Cuomo. “With the new measures implemented by the state, and our continued work together with the business and labor communities, we will remain on track to create a system that works better for both employers and employees.”

Originally, the New York Compensation Insurance Rating Board recommended a cost increase in their annual loss cost filing. However, after reviewing all the filings and written submissions, the board determined to cut costs.

Benjamin M. Lawsky, superintendent of financial services, believes Cuomo is leading New York in the right direction for all businesses, both large and small, throughout the state.

“This is the right decision on rates at the right time,” said Lawsky.

Cuomo also announced that the last measures of the 2007 Workers’ Compensation Reform Law, which secured necessary benefit increases for injured workers and cost reductions for businesses, have now been fully implemented by the state. The Workers’ Compensation Board will now focus on creating a new set of guidelines to help modernize its systems with technology and to continue reducing waste and abuse in the system.

“The cost of workers’ compensation coverage remains a significant competitiveness issue for New York State business,” said Heather Briccetti, CEO of the New York State Business Council. “We look forward to working with the administration and other stakeholders on next steps in improving the system.”