ALBANY, NY, Nov. 22– New York is a poor place for construction contractors to do business, according to state rankings released today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). “Building America: The Merit Shop Scorecard” reviews and ranks state-specific information significant to the success of the commercial and industrial construction industry. 

The scorecard identifies states, such as New York, where improvements need to be made to create an environment where merit shop contractors are well positioned to succeed as well as states that have created contractor-friendly business environments. 

The Merit Shop Scorecard grades states on their policies on project labor agreement (PLA) and prevailing-wage mandates and Right-to-Work status as well as their construction job growth rate, commitment to developing a well-trained workforce, career and technical education opportunities and results, and use of public-private partnerships.  

“New York policymakers can reduce the cost of public construction to taxpayers by halting the use of PLAs,” said Joshua Reap, Vice President of Public Affairs, the Empire Chapter of ABC. “PLA mandates undermine the state’s credibility and are a substantial drawback to efforts to foster development. This is especially true given the heightened awareness of how the state creates, bids and awards its work. At the end of the day, PLAs cause the public to lose faith in elected leaders and cost taxpayers millions of dollars extra because government officials want to pick winners and losers.” 

Low-performing states such as New York received among the worst overall rankings for their policies, while states such as North Carolina, Louisiana and Virginia received top marks for their free enterprise-based policies.

The merit shop philosophy is the belief that people and companies succeed based on free enterprise principles within the free market system, which is characterized by open and fair competition and diverse participants. They oppose violence, coercion, intimidation and the denial of the rights of employees and employers. Furthermore, they believe it is incumbent upon all branches of government to be responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars and that government should award contracts based solely on merit to the lowest responsible bidder, regardless of labor affiliation.

The Merit Shop Scorecard was developed with input from ABC chapters and industry stakeholders across the country. Criteria and definitions are available on meritshopscorecard.org. The scorecard will be updated with exclusive state construction unemployment rate estimates from economist Bernard Markstein, Ph.D. 

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The Empire State Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) is part of a national construction industry trade association representing nearly 21,000 chapter members. Founded on the merit shop philosophy, ABC and its 70 chapters help members develop people, win work and deliver that work safely, ethically and profitably for the betterment of the communities in which ABC and its members work. Visit us at abcnys.org.