State Budget Recap: What You Need to Know

On Sunday, Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature passed the state’s budget for the new fiscal year. The budget totaled $175.5 billion, an increase of about $7.2 billion from last years budget.

Key Things Kept Out of the Budget

Expansion of Prevailing Wage on Private Work

  • We were successful at keeping an expansion of prevailing wage on private work out of this year’s budget. The bill would have applied prevailing wage to all projects that receive any form of public assistance.
  • Though this is a big victory for the Chapter, we ask that you continue to engage your legislators with calls and letters regarding this issue. We will have to continue to relentlessly fight the expansion of prevailing wage until the end of session.

Legalization of Recreational Marijuana

  • We also succeeded in keeping the legalization of recreational marijuana out of this years budget. The Chapter will continue to push for language that would protect contractors right to maintain a drug-free workplace.
  • Like the prevailing wage bill, this issue isn’t going away just because we kept it from the budget. We will continue to battle this throughout the rest of session.

What Was in the Budget?

Permanent Property Tax Cap

  • Property taxes will cap at a 2% increase. This cap was passed in 2011 but with this budget, the tax has now become permanent.

Democracy Agenda

  • Mandates three hours of paid time off for all New Yorkers to vote on Election Day. It enacts online voter registration, funds e-poll books, and expands the voting hours to 6 AM in Upstate.

MTA Reforms, Financing, New Taxes

  • The MTA is now required to develop a reorganization plan by June, modifies MTA Board appointments to align with appointing authority, requires the MTA to undergo an independent forensic audit and efficiency review, calls for a construction review unit made up of outside experts to review major projects, implements a 20-year capital needs assessment beginning in 2023, increases the competitive procurement threshold from $100,000 to $1 million, establishes a 30-day review notice for comptroller contract approval, and requires public reporting on MTA performance metrics.
  • The budget also requires any Capital Program Review Board member who does not approve of the MTA capital plan to issue a written explanation of their veto, and gives the MTA an opportunity to respond and revise the plan so the member may withdraw their veto.
  • The budget will also allow the MTA to debar any contractor that exceeds 10 percent of the contract cost or time on a capital construction project. The Enacted Budget requires any MTA capital project over $25 million to use design-build, saving the MTA time and money.
  • Central Business District Tolling- Puts electronic tolling devices on the perimeter of the Central Business District which consists of streets south of 60th street in Manhattan
  • Progressive Mansion Tax- tax on mansions with a combined top rate of 4.15% on the sale of properties valued at $25 million or above
  • Internet Sales Tax- collection of required sales taxes by internet marketplace providers
  • Dedicated Lock Box- Purpose is to ensure that 100% of the revenue generated goes to the MTA capital budget and prohibits the use of the money for non-capital purposes

Janus Protections Expanded

  • The budget adds new safeguards for public sector unions and guarantees the right to organize and collectively bargain.

Increases Education Funding and Equity

  • An increase of over $1 billion in education aid will bring total education funding to a record $27.9 billion, with over 70 percent of the increased funding going to poorer districts. School districts would be required to report how they provide appropriate funding for certain schools.

Taxpayer Financed Campaigns

  • The budget creates a public financing commission that will have the power to implement public campaign financing for legislative and statewide offices, authorizing up to $100 million annually in public funds.

Plastic Bag Ban

  • The budget bans the use of single-use plastic bags. Customers can opt in for a 5-cent paper bag instead of the standard plastic bags.

Affordable Care Act Protections

  • Codifies ACA provisions and the New York State Health Exchange into law to ensure that no matter what happens at the federal level, the provisions are protected in New York

Invests in Clean Drinking Water

  • An additional $500 million will be invested in clean water infrastructure, building on the State’s historic $2.5 billion investment.

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Union Requirement Inflates Cost of State Fair Bridge

By |May 23rd, 2019|Categories: News, Statewide|

A shortage of bids on the New York State Fairgrounds pedestrian bridge project will leave New Yorkers paying more, but getting less. When plans for the project were released with an accompanying project labor agreement (PLA), the playing field narrowed from 20 companies interested in the project to just two submitting bids, with the lowest bid coming in well in excess of $1 million over engineering estimates. Why the drastic decrease in competition and increase in costs? The answer can be found in three simple letters: PLA.

Another Voice: Benefits Add Hidden Costs to Prevailing Wage Projects

By |May 22nd, 2019|Categories: Statewide, Uncategorized|

Let’s not be fooled. Proponents of the expansion of prevailing wage are already doing great damage to taxpayers. They shouldn’t be allowed to ruin what little positive job growth we now have in New York.

Trade War: Find Out How The Tariffs Are Impacting New York Businesses and Consumers

By |May 17th, 2019|Categories: Federal Update, News, Statewide|

“What’s clear is that some contractors will have to deal with cost overruns that they can’t pass on to their customers,” said Brian Sampson, president of the Associated Builders & Contractors of New York. “But in most cases, the increased cost of the tariffs will be passed on to customers resulting in more expensive construction projects or higher costs for capital goods.”

First JCC Trades Training Class Graduates; Honored by Officials

By |May 13th, 2019|Categories: News, Statewide, Uncategorized|

The first class to complete the intensive 10-week, 40-hour construction training course offered by Jefferson Community College was celebrated at a recognition ceremony Friday at the Lewis County JCC Education Center.

Engineer Didn’t Prove That PLAs Save Money

By |April 24th, 2019|Categories: News, Statewide|

The PLA study, which cost Ogdensburg taxpayers $21,000, purports that with a series of false savings, labor consolidation and “management rights,” the project will save money. Yet no one challenged the study’s creator, Tim Seeler of Seeler Engineering, to positively prove those savings will be achieved. They also never asked him about the negative impact the lack of competition will have on the bidding process. They simply rubber-stamped the study and closed the door on local contractors and their employees.

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2019-04-03T12:04:43-04:00