Printing Industries Alliance (PIA) is pulling out all the stops to overturn a provision contained in the current NYS Assembly budget that would repeal a state sales tax exemption on all printed promotional materials (direct mail, advertising, catalogs, etc.). Section 1115(n) of the New York State Tax Code has been in effect since 1989 and was enacted, ironically, to stem the loss of sales for Empire State printing firms at that time. Given today’s business climate, a repeal now is sheer madness. PIA, and the former Association of Graphic Communications, fought hard years ago to get the exemption into law and will not let go of that victory for printers and direct mailers easily.
Despite the attempt to help plug the state’s massive deficit by overturning the exemption, its repeal will not result in a revenue gain for New York, and in fact, may reduce revenue overall. An economic analysis conducted by Printing Industries of America indicates that the effect of this action would be a significant loss of sales for printing firms due to the 8-9 percent cost increase associated with application of NYS sales and use tax, and will cause a potential loss of 4,200 well paying jobs within the printing industry and related sectors.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars are often won or lost on price differences of a thousand dollars or less. All it takes for a print-ready job is for a client to hit “send” and the work goes out of state or country—and with it jobs and tax revenue, something NYS can ill afford.
A broad coalition of groups dedicated to keeping the exemption in place has been spearheaded by the Alliance and the Direct Marketing Association. Groups involved include: The Business Council of NYS, Mailing & Fulfillment Service Association, NY Letter Carriers Association, Quad Graphics, RR Donnelley, Valpak, Valassis, NY Press Association, American Association of Advertising Agencies, Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, Queens Chamber of Commerce, The Conservative Party of NYS, National Federation of Independent Business, Publishers’ Clearinghouse, Free Community Newspaper Publishers of NYS and International Paper.
As a result of these efforts, numerous meetings with key decision makers and a heavy letter-writing campaign to elected officials, many Senators have indicated their support to ensure the repeal is not included in a final budget bill. A “letter of support” to deleting the provision from the Assembly bill, initiated by Assemblyman Robin Schimminger, has been signed by a number of his colleagues. The collaborative efforts have earned a bevy of major articles published in the Albany Times Union, Buffalo News, Printing News and other outlets.
There is still a ways to go yet on this issue—some insiders are now saying it will be June until a final budget is passed. But with the continued assistance by industry professionals and their clients, PIA is “cautiously optimistic” that this provision can get knocked out before a final budget is enacted, allowing the existing exemption to be maintained.
• NYC Mandated Paid Sick Leave Bill
Although the 5-Boro Coalition, which includes PIA and over 20 other organizations, was successful last year in stemming the tide against passage of a mandated paid sick leave bill, the measure’s sponsor, Councilwoman Gale Brewer, has reintroduced a new version. PIA and other business groups testified against it at a May 11 hearing at City Hall.
• Legislation Introduced To Expand
Acting upon recommendations made by his MWBE Task Force, Gov. Paterson submitted a program bill to the Legislature which would improve MWBE access to procurement processes while simultaneously promote the use of MWBE and non-MWBE firms that have sound diversity practices.
Key provisions of the legislation would:
Require the Director of the Division of Minority and Women Owned Business Development to set regulations requiring state agencies to assess the diversity practices of contractors submitting bids or proposals in connection with the award of a state contract, where “practicable, feasible and appropriate.”