Shield taxpayers from PLAs

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Shield taxpayers from PLAs

From: The Post Star

Senator Schumer called for an “all-hands-on-deck” approach to financing the Lake George wastewater treatment plant, meaning money would come from the federal, state and local levels of government. Home to 1,000 permanent residents, $26 million is a hefty price tag for the people of Lake George. It’s crucial taxpayers stretch every dollar. One way to ensure that is to guarantee the new wastewater treatment plant isn’t subject to a Project Labor Agreement (PLA).

A PLA is a pre-hire agreement requiring the workforce comes from local union hiring halls. However, unions only account for 21 percent of the construction workforce across New York, with that number being even smaller in the Lake George area. PLAs effectively bar the majority of local contractors and their workers from bidding and winning work that their own tax dollars fund. PLAs do nothing more than eliminate competition for unions, ensuring their contractors win work, and decrease the number of bids on a project, driving taxpayer expenses.

Touted as a cost-saving measure by union supporters, studies are conducted ahead of projects to identify “alleged” PLA savings. Those flawed studies use outdated models which don’t consider massive changes in the construction industry over the past few decades. Yet, studies are never conducted to determine if the savings were realized once the project is completed. Why? Labor savings never materialize — and proponents don’t want you to know that. PLAs guarantee work for the same unions that make substantial donations to politicians that insist project labor agreements be used in the first place. It’s a vicious cycle.

We can’t afford to make New York more expensive. Senator Schumer needs to be a true champion for New Yorkers and shield taxpayers from another costly burden by rejecting any mention of a PLA on the Lake George wastewater treatment plant.

Amanda Bertram

ABC Empire State Vice President of Public Affairs

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