Today, Governor Cuomo kicked off the 2020 legislative session with the State of the State address. This address is typically an opportunity for the Governor to outline major policy priorities for the coming year. During the address, Cuomo unveiled the broad strokes of an agenda which includes several items of interest to independent agents and brokers.
Small Business Tax Cut: The governor has proposed cutting the tax rate for businesses employing fewer than 100 workers and with less than $390,000 in income from 6.5% to 4%.
Gig Economy: The governor plans to introduce legislation to reclassify “gig workers" such as rideshare drivers, delivery workers, and other “gig workers" as employees rather than independent contractors. This issue has garnered significant attention – and criticism – following the enactment of a similar law in California. The full details are not yet available, but Big I NY will be watching this issue closely. We have concerns that, if not properly tailored, this bill could affect our members' ability to flexibly staff their agencies.
Paid Sick Leave: Governor Cuomo called for a mandatory minimum of 5 days of paid sick leave for small businesses and 7 days for employees of larger companies.
Cannabis Legalization: The governor called for the full recreational legalization of cannabis in 2020. In 2019, the state decriminalized cannabis but stopped short of full legalization.
$6B Budget Deficit: The state is facing a significant budget shortfall in 2020-21. The only measure aimed at closing the deficit was a proposal to shift additional Medicaid costs to local governments. While specific budget language has not yet been released, we will be on the lookout for any additional taxes, fees, or penalties that are often employed as revenue generators.
We will continue to keep our members apprised as more details become available.