518-436-6673 brescia@nyall.com

An assembly bill to allow companies other than tank owners to fill
them during an emergency was introduced and passed in 4 days. For
now its senate companion is in the agriculture committee and not posted
for discussion next. That committee will not even meet next week.
The measure, the product of a complaint and news story, induced
Assm. Santatbarbara [Dem. Rotterdam] to hastily draw up a bill and push
it through the assembly apparently appealing to the speaker who agreed
to the move. It is very unusual so early in the session for a new bill to
move absent considered debate and analysis. The bill allows filling of
tanks by non-owners during emergencies declared by federal, state or
local government, and an “auto-emergency” declared by anyone feeling
at risk of life and limb and loss of property. Think “safe spaces” sought
by college students who feel at risk from ideas. Panic among consumers
is common leading them to order more propane just in case it rains or
during a declared emergency even though, according to company
records, they are not at risk of running out. People rush to fill gasoline
tanks so the car can sit in the garage with a full tank. “The pipeline on
wheels” effect.”
Several meetings with the sponsor produced “amendments” to
circumvent its obvious flaws or put another way, our attempts to explain
the matter were used against us. The NYPGA never proposed
any amendments to the bill that indicate our support of the measure
with changes. The assemblyman’s move strikes me as dealing in bad
faith. We have already turned to the senate’s James Tedisco who
seems amendable to working with us. The NYPGA responded to
news stories with interviews and press releases that have placed the
issue in perspective but appear not to have persuaded the assembly
sponsor who seems to have stumbled upon a unique incident involving
one company and a customer who went public on local TV. Since
we do not know the full details of the relationship of the parties further
analysis is not possible but in need of clarification if the assemblyman
sensationalized the matter merely to get a law passed in his
The bill passed on January 17th but not before an extensive examination
of the sponsor by republicans assemblymen Crouch,
Palmesano (he supported Crestwood), Curran (Nassau), Goodell
(Jamestown) and one other whose name will be in the transcript of
the floor debate. These assemblymen touched every point in our
memo in opposition and added a few wrinkles keeping the sponsor on
his feet. [One co-sponsor, from the Bronx, spoke incoherently; puzzling
since propane may not be off loaded in the City of New York]
One of our objections, without revisiting the container law jargon,
questioned the authority of the governor’s emergency powers to
waive contracts depriving companies of their property and prerogatives.
Assemblyman Goodell, an attorney, noted the state constitution
expressly protects contracts among private individuals. The bill
would have suspended agreement between customers and suppliers
allowing tanks to be filled but left the question of liability open. The
sponsor when asked replied the liability is there. Whatever that
Perhaps the greatest irony is declarations of emergency are designed
to suspend laws and regulations that hamper recovery but
there is no law baring a company from delivering to a tank owned by
others. This governor, you will recall, twice vetoed our container law.
For those who think the president’s talk of hitting the button
was a warning to North Korea, Mr. Cuomo’s take is this: “Washington
(he means Trump and republicans) hit the button and launched
an economic missile and it says “New York on it, and it’s headed our
This week commences the budget process with Governor Andrew
M. Cuomo delivering his Budget Message to a joint session. In
it he was able to outline his defense against Trumps “Economic Missile”
necessitating revenue raising proposals to close the SALT gap
and our states usual deficit since increases in spending are built into
our budgets. The proposals include a “payroll tax” where the state
tax withholding on income would be borne by the employer thus a restructure
of the income tax laws including those items coupled to the
federal tax code. The state has had a “windfall” of $1.9 billion as
people rushed to pay their 2017 state income liability preserving the
He alluded to NY’s advancements being wiped away by the
Trump tax plan. He really means NY and other high tax states will
have to face the electorate who may resist paying tax to NY subsidized
by the federal government or more accurately by taxpayers in
other states.
He thinks Amazon and their ilk should collect sales taxes, the
carried interest loophole favoring those awful hedge fund managers
who enjoy a lower tax rate should be eliminated, and just to make this
more palatable he wants to explore legalizing recreational marijuana.
Could this be “the opiate of the people” or does he want the kind of
tax revenue flooding California. He wants an opioid tax, too.
[Here is the site for your enjoyment]
Whatever emerges from the budget process the initial assessment
of the impact of tax reform my have been skewed by Mr. Cuomo’s
tax analysts to make the impact worse than it is but blaming it all
on President Trump serves several purposes: Cuomo wants to run in
2018, needs cover for an abysmal fiscal situation in the highest taxed
state in the country, cover for raising taxes but he may be reaping the
windfall of much higher personal income that New Yorkers enjoy from
the market boom.


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