Printing Industries Alliance says that printers in New York State don’t have much time to raise their voices against a budget proposal that could cost the state’s printing industry thousands of jobs. That grim prospect stems from a legislative attempt to repeal an exemption from the state’s sales and use tax on printed and mailed promotional materials. Tim Freeman, president of Printing Industries Alliance, says that a budget bill containing a proposal for repeal passed in the New York State Assembly last week. A budget bill now making its way through the Senate does not contain a provision for repeal, but the proposal could be put back in during the negotiations that will reconcile the Assembly and the Senate versions. Freeman says that a budget bill could be finalized before Easter—perhaps as early as next week. That’s why he is urging his members in New York State to contact their senators as soon as possible with an anti-repeal message available here. Repeal of the exemption would be costly. Depending on their counties, printers subject to it would have to collect as much as 10% on the selling price of direct mail, catalogs, and other products and services currently exempted. The negative effect, says Freeman, would be twofold: it would drive printing business from New York to other states, and it would accelerate the trend away from print to electronic forms of marketing. Freeman says that Printing Industries of America (PIA), the Alliance’s parent association, has published an impact assessment which foresees the potential loss of 2,800 to 4,200 printing jobs and $400 to $600 million in annual shipments in New York if the exemption is taken away. Freeman and Vicki Keenan, the Alliance’s vice president for legislative affairs, are circulating the paper in the state’s 62-member Senate in hope of keeping repeal out of the final budget. Because the body’s 30 Republican members probably can be counted on to oppose repeal, says Freeman, the Alliance is concentrating on lining up Democratic senators in favor of shielding printers from the sales and use tax. It is a protection that they have enjoyed for the last 15 years, ever since PIA affiliates then representing New York State succeeded in expanding the scope of the exemption to help level the playing field for printers competing against less heavily taxed print providers from out of state. Freeman notes that the burden of repeal would be felt most painfully by lettershops and by Alliance members who have added mailing as an ancillary service. Freeman doesn’t know which legislators conceived the idea of repealing the exemption. But, he says that a scramble for new sources of revenue by New York State—which faces a 2010-2011 budget deficit of more than $9 billion—is the general reason for its appearance in the Assembly budget bill. Now, making sure that the Senate keeps it out of the final budget has become the paramount concern of the Alliance’s Legislative Action Center. “This is a big issue,” Freeman says.