March 20, 2012
The Honorable Dean Skelos
Senate Majority Leader
Building, Room 909 Albany,
Dear Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos:
We write to ask for your opposition to the transfer of up to $200 million in NYSERDA reserves for deposit into the General Fund.
The undersigned are concerned that a sweep contained in the Assembly Majority 2012-13 Budget Proposal § 14-a of Part N, of A 9055-C, will amount to a new $200 million dollar tax.
The funds that are proposed to be swept were generated through surcharges and assessments
on gas and electric consumers in the State. The funds were collected with the state purpose of helping New York meet its energy goals: reducing energy consumption, promoting the use of renewable energy sources, and
protecting the environment. The funds in the past have been allocated towards energy-efficiency programs, research and development initiatives, renewable energy projects and low-income energy programs.
When the Public Service Commission (PSC) in the past determined that NYSERDA had excessive proceeds, the PSC has reduced the projected surcharges and assessments, saving ratepayers. If the $200 million dollar is transferred from NYSERDA, the State's goals will not be reduced to reflect a reduction in available resources. To obtain the State's goals ratepayers will likely be requested to pay an additional $200 million dollar to cover the shortfall.
The proposed transfer is similar to the "18-a" utility assessment. The indefensible increase in "18-a" was explained by then Governor Paterson as means to encourage conservation. The six-fold increase in "18-a" assessments in 2009 limited the competitiveness of our business environment and placed a significant burden on residents.
It is a well understood fact that New Yorkers pay nearly the highest energy costs in the nation. Residential electricity rates alone were 61 percent above the national average and second highest among the 13 most comparable states. Commercial rates were the highest among the same comparable states, and 65 percent above the national average.
The undersigned request that you oppose the proposed budget transfer of up to $200 million in NYSERDA reserves for deposit into the General Fund.
Andrew Rudnick, President and CEO, Buffalo Niagara Partnership
Heather Briccetti, Esq., President and CEO, Business Council of New York State
Lou Santoni, President/CEO, Greather Binghamton Chamber
Randy Wolken, President, Manufacturers Alliance of New York State
Julie Suarez, Public Policy Director, New York State Farm Bureau
Michael Durant, NFIB of New York State
Sandra Parker, President and CEO, Rochester Business Alliance
Brian Sampson, Executive Director, Unshackle Upstate
William Crowell, Energy Coalition New York
CC: Governor Andrew Cuomo
New York State Assembly
New York State Senate