New York State’s budget was 125 days late when it finally was passed on Tuesday, but it contained something that printers throughout the state considered well worth waiting for: their continued exemption from the sales and use tax on printed and mailed promotional materials. Printing Industries Alliance (PIA) said that preservation of the exemption is a major victory for printers in New York State. In a message to his members, Timothy Freeman, president of PIA, called the exemption “critical for our industry. It is a significant competitive advantage for New York State printers.” “Let's face it—we don’t have many others,” Freeman said. “In fact, as this situation played out, we spoke to several printers who had nervous customers asking about moving their jobs out of state.” Had the exemption been taken away, printers subject to the tax would have been obliged to collect as much as 10% on the selling price of direct mail, catalogs, and other products. This, according to PIA, could have cost the industry in New York State as many as 4,200 jobs and up to $600 million in annual shipments. Freeman thanked PIA’s partners in a broadly based coalition formed to oppose removal of the exemption, which some Albany lawmakers saw as one way to close the state’s $9 billion budget gap. The coalition, consisting of printers, publishers, mailers, and business groups, convinced legislators that repeal would generate only minimal revenue because of the flight of this work from New York State. According to Freeman, the engagement of PIA members was crucial in the fight to preserve the exemption. “We also discovered that we had members from across New York State who had incredible contacts that proved very useful in achieving a positive resolution,” he said. “The fact that we were ultimately able to protect and retain this exemption speaks volumes about the critical necessity of maintaining a strong and effective industry trade association.” PIA, the regional affiliate of Printing Industries of America, represents about 375 graphic communications firms in New York State, northern New Jersey and northwestern Pennsylvania. It alerts members to legislative and regulatory activity affecting the industry through its Legislative Action Center.