Stephen Lefebvre, president of the Empire State Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) had some thoughts on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s state of the state address last week. The ABC Empire State Chapter issued the press release below on January 5, where he wished Gov. Cuomo the best in 2012 and asked him to unshackle New York’s construction industry from costly and unnecessary government mandates and regulations.
As the release goes onto say, one of the mandates hindering job growth in the construction industry in New York is government-mandated project labor agreements (PLA). PLA mandates on both state and local projects have been a regular problem for the construction industry in New York – particularly for the 72.5 percent of the workforce that chooses not to join a labor union.
These mandates have also been a problem for New York taxpayers. A blatant example of how these Big Labor handouts hurt taxpayers occurred in the spring of 2011, where the NYS Department of Transportation tried and was ultimately successful in implementing a PLA mandate on an infrastructure project that disqualified a qualified contractor’s bid and cost taxpayers an addition $5 million in unnecessary construction costs.
As America climbs out of recession, it is vital that government entities use taxpayer funds as wisely as possible. As far as we are concerned, rewarding union bosses for their political support by giving union contractors a leg up against their nonunion counterparts doesn’t seem like the best use of public money.
Like the ABC Empire State Chapter, we urge Gov. Cuomo to support the Public Construction Savings Act and put an end to government-mandated PLAs in New York.
The ABC Empire State Chapter press release from January 5 is below.
STATEMENT FROM ABC PRESIDENT STEPHEN LEFEBVRE ON GOV. CUOMO’S STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS
I want to applaud the governor on his first year in office and wish him the best on the start of the 2012 Legislative Session. The plan he laid out today in his annual State of the State provided some bold initiatives to enhance government and improve the economy through investment in many areas that the construction industry is sure to help build. With any discussion of development I encourage the governor to seek out the best value possible for the money paid by New York’s hard-working taxpayers.
I urge Gov. Cuomo to unshackle the full economic potential of any government funded construction work from the unnecessary use of restrictive measures such as mandatory Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) that time and again have driven up the cost of public work projects in the Empire State. The governor should seek construction mandate relief in the form of the Public Construction Savings Act (S.4121/A.7855) which would allow government entities to bid public construction in a way that promotes unfettered competition among contractors seeking public work to the benefit of taxpayers.
The Empire State Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors (“ABC”) represents over 550 merit-shop construction contractors and subcontractors employing thousands of workers throughout the State of New York.