As part of the 2009-10 State Budget, the State increased its assessment on regulated utility companies from one-third of 1% of gross intra-state revenues, to 2%. In addition to New York State gas, electric, steam and water corporations and the Long Island Power Authority, the surcharge -- which is effective July 1, 2009 and will remain at the 2% level until March 31, 2014 -- applies to municipal electric and gas corporations. The revenue collected from this surcharge, estimated at $557 million annually, will be used to provide state general fund relief. While this new assessment will have a direct impact on municipally-operated utilities, the surcharge will negatively affect all utility customers, including local governments and their residents, as a portion of it will appear as a new charge on consumer utility bills. This is yet another example of the State shifting its fiscal problems onto the backs of local governments and their taxpayers.