SUMMARY Of IBANYS Government Relations Call Of January 15, 2016

January 15, 2016

IBANYS' President & CEO John Witkowski convened the call, welcomed those participating and thanked them for their time and attention.

1) Federal Update (Alan Keller, ICBA)

*Alan discussed the federal highway bill that included a number of provisions impacting banks. He noted that some had already taken effect (i.e., the elimination of the need for bank's to send annual privacy notices if nothing has changed since the previous year) while others -- such as the expansion of the exam cycle from 12 to 18 months) will require regulatory rules to take effect.

*He noted that the current priority is the February 4 full board meeting of FASB with a delegation of community bank's, auditors and regulators on the CECL issue. The grassroots effort on this continues, and there is also a letter to FASB circulating among members of congress as well.

*He further noted that 2016 priorities include regulatory relief, and will include such items as short term call reports; QM (on all mortgages); HMDA (raising the threshold on loans to 500).

2) State Update (IBANYS Legislative Counsel Bill Crowell)

IBANYS' Legislative Counsel Bill Crowell discussed this week's State of the State and 2016-17 State Budget presentation by Governor Cuomo.

*In general terms, the proposed $145 billion budget represents a 1.7 percent increase from the 2015-16 budget, and focused on a significant expansion and enhancement of the State's infrastructure -- including transportation, high-speed Internet access. It also provides tax cuts for small businesses, a phased-in paid family leave for employees to care for sick family members or bond with new babies), and an increase in minimum wage. It would begin at 35percent of salary in year one. Upstate, it would be phased in, beginning at 9.75 an hour, escalating annually to $15 an hour by 2021. In New York City, it would start at $10.50 and go to $15 in four years.

*There were no specific issues directly impacting bank's/community bank's, although IBANYS is reviewing the section on corporate tax changes to ascertain whether any will have an impact.

*The proposed State Department of Financial Services administrative budget in lies a savings of $14 million, evidently concentrated in the area of health insurance. There is no change in the number of employees, and there is also a $4.8 million increase in the special revenue fund (the amount bank's pay in). IBANYS is examining it to determine which bank's this pertains to, and what it is intended to do.

*on IBANYS agenda, Bill discussed three proactive bills:
A) Expanding the exam cycle from 12 to 18 months;
B) Exempting community bank's from a state CRA exam if they had a positive rating from their federal CRA exam;
C) Establishing community bank service corporations.

*IBANYS will also continue to seek input from member bank's on additional proactive agenda items, and will also continue to monitor and oppose any initiatives to expand tax-exempt credit union powers or authorities.

Stephen W. Rice
Director of Government Relations & Communications
Independent Bankers Association of New York State

Governor Cuomo Delivers State Of The State 
& Proposes 2016-17 State Budget 

Governor Cuomo delivered his combined 2016 State of the State Message and 2016-17 State Budget Presentation Wednesday afternoon, January 13 to Members of the NYS Legislature, statewide elected officials, cabinet agency heads and public and private sector leaders. He declared the State to be "stronger than at any point in recent history," called his plan "an ambitious agenda" and promised it will be under the state's flexible 2 percent cap.

The Governor's proposed $145 billion state spending plan for the 2016-17 fiscal year includes disaster aid, capital projects and other federal aid. It would increase spending by 1.7 percent over the current adopted budget, keeping to the policy of holding spending under 2 percent increases year-over-year. 

The Governor proposed an ethics reform package that includes closeure of the LLC loophole and caps outside income for legislators. He called for a major transportation infrastructure development plan with significant upgrades to mass transit downstate (a new tunnel to New Jersey, a third rail line to the Long Island Rail Road, replacing LaGuardia airport). (However, he offered no details on how the state would pay for the plan.)

The Governor again strongly called for a $15 minimum wage for all state workers, noting: "We can show this nation what real economic justice means.

Among the Governor's other proposals:
  • Enacting up to 12 weeks of paid leave for workers with a new child or sick relative, effective April 1, 2016 if enacted. All private employees would be covered. It includes job protections and protections against retaliatory actions;
  • Doubling to $807 million the sum spent on pre-K education;
  • Creating a state constitutional commission, spending $1 million to study a potential upcoming convention and propose changes to the process.
  • Expand the state's goal of doing 30 percent of its contracting with minority- and women-owned firms by including municipal governments in the effort;
  • Establishing a five-year plan to spend $20 billion on affordable and supportive housing, plus other services to benefit the homeless.
  • Giving responsibility for monitoring homeless shelters in New York City to City Comptroller Stringer, and to State Comptroller DiNapoli statewide;
  • Supporting the Dream Act, which would allow undocumented immigrants to apply for state financial aid.
  • Raising the age of criminal responsibility to 18;
  • Reviving proposed public financing of political campaigns (Senate Republicans have said they will not pass it).
Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-LI) gave the official Republican response to the Governor's State of the State and budget presentation, saying the Senate's top priority would be "Jobs, jobs, jobs." He also said the Senate would address terrorism and heroin addiction, and again called for the Legislature and Governor to make permanent a 2 percent cap on state spending increases in the budget, noting: "It's so important the Senate has already acted this year to establish a spending cap in law. By doing so, we can shore up the state's finances for the long haul and protect the families of tomorrow by the over spending of the past."Senate Republicans indicated they don't see how the Governor plans to fund his proposals in the context of the budget he proposed. Deputy Majority Leader (and former Finance Committee Chairman) John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse) stated: "I still don't have answers yet on where the money is coming from...There are a lot of dollars being spent on that budget and quite frankly I don't know how it stays under that 2 percent cap...That's really the key issue: Where's the money going to come from?"