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Press Release
November 12, 2008

Contact Jeff Leland
(518) 792-0949

Employer Alliance: Budget Deficit Proposals Devastating to Small Business 

The budget deficit proposals announced today by Governor Paterson include tax increases for health insurers that will make it harder for business to afford coverage, according to the Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care.

“After hitting small businesses in the pocketbook in the 2008-2009 budget, Governor Paterson is now looking to increase the cost of health insurance again, making it even harder for business to afford health insurance coverage for our employees,” said Jeff Leland, chair of the Employer Alliance.

Deficit bridging proposals unveiled today include a $120 million increase in the Covered Lives Assessment — a surcharge paid on every health insurance policy — which is on top of the $70 million covered lives tax hike included in the budget passed in April. There would also be increases to other health insurance taxes such as the patient services surcharge and the section 332 assessments.

“As the saying goes, ‘If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck.’ Whether called ‘assessments’ or ‘surcharges,’ they are taxes,” said Leland. “These are taxes on the premiums we pay for health insurance with none of that money going to add to the benefits or services of the coverage.”

“Many small and medium sized businesses in New York are already struggling to provide health insurance coverage. At the same time as New York is looking at ways to expand health insurance coverage to all New Yorkers, it doesn’t make sense for Governor Paterson to make it harder for business to offer coverage at all.”

The Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care is the largest single-issue grassroots business coalition in New York State - 3,400 small business owners and sole proprietors representing more than 200,000 working New Yorkers. To learn more, visit our website at www.employeralliance.com.