ALBANY - North Country Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward is lobbying her fellow lawmakers to make the Power for Jobs program permanent.
Each spring, the program - along with the Energy Cost Saving Benefit - expires.
Some 530 businesses and nonprofits and more than 300,000 people take advantage of the two programs, which provide rebates that offset electricity costs, discounts on utility delivery rates, and subsidies on the price of wholesale electricity.
Sayward said the programs are even more important in New York.
"The cost of doing business in New York is the second highest in the nation," she said in a prepared statement. "And our state's energy costs are the fourth highest countrywide."
She noted the likelihood of extending the Power for Jobs program diminishes with each passing day due to the state's fiscal woes.
"Many businesses are worried that their energy costs will soon increase," Sayward said.
The state Senate has already passed a measure to make the program permanent. Sayward says the Assembly must do the same to avoid the annual expiration.
"Job creation and economic growth must be our top priority," she said. "Economies are suffering in the North Country, and working to promote small business development and creating jobs is the best way to dig us out of this financial downturn."
Sayward adds that saving local jobs and attracting new companies is vital to the North Country's economic survival.
That includes providing low-cost energy to businesses.
"Every incentive we can provide to create jobs must be made available," Sayward said. "The Senate has acted and now it's our turn in the Assembly."