This past week, Governor Cuomo officially presented his Executive Budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Over the next several weeks, the Governor will work with the Senate and the Assembly try to reach agreement on a final budget by the annual April 1 deadline. There are a number of items within the budget that are relevant to our members and while there’s a lot of work to be done before it’s finalized, we wanted to keep you updated on where things stand.
The Governor’s budget proposal includes potential developments on a prevailing wage expansion. Specifically, the Governor’s plan would combine every type of state and local subsidy – including grants, tax credits and IDA financial assistance – and if the total public funds amount to 30 percent of a project’s construction costs, the prevailing wage would be triggered.
There will be a lot of discussions and debate before any of this is finalized, but this is a promising start to the legislative year. As always, we’ll be following all of these developments very closely, and we will keep you informed as we move forward.
Earlier this week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo delivered his State
of the State Address. This annual speech lays out the Governor’s
priorities for the year and provides a framework for the issues that
will be debated in Albany over the next several months. Our members were
on hand and out in force, and were acknowledged in the Governor’s
opening remarks along with our partners in the labor movement.
The Governor’s 2020 agenda, Making Progress Happen, includes a number of ambitious economic development projects that should deliver opportunities for our members. Some of the big ticket items include:
• $14 million to build a new mid-station lodge at Whiteface • $9.4 million to upgrade Lake George Wastewater Treatment Plant • Second Round of funding for Upstate Airport Revitalization (first round was $200 million) • $10 million to help transform Buffalo’s North Aud Block • $9 million to help build a year-round indoor drone research facility in Rome, NY • A comprehensive education and workforce STEM training center in Syracuse • Incentivizing businesses to move into downtown Rochester through the use of ESD Grant and Excelsior Tax Credits • $100 million in economic development investments to communities along the Erie Canal. Projects include: o Brockport loop connecting SUNY to Empire State trail land o Canalside pocket neighborhood to be built in Canastota o Renovation of Guy Park Manor and construction of a pedestrian bridge in Amsterdam
The next step will be the presentation of the Governor’s Executive Budget later this month, which will start to lay out the details of how the state will pay for all of these ideas. We will be following all of these developments very closely in the days and weeks ahead, and we will keep member in New York informed as we move forward.
2019 was an eventful year for the Carpenters union in Albany. Our main legislative focus was to expand the prevailing wage law. Too often, developers participating in “public-private partnerships” have gamed the system and exploited cheap labor with our tax dollars. It hurts union carpenters and reputable contractors—both union and nonunion—who pay good wages to good workers. Our legislation would close that loophole.
The heated debate went to the last days of the legislative session before falling short. We have not given up. Defining prevailing wage will be front and center again this year and we are already laying the groundwork to take it over the finish line in 2020.
In 2019, the North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters (NASRCC) was the driving force behind the creation of the Blue Collar Coalition. The Blue Collar Coalition-NY is made up of our partners in organized labor who are dedicated to making sure that all workers on publicly funded projects are paid a fair wage for a fair day’s work. We are fighting to ensure that workers of every race, color and creed are given a real chance at a middle-class life.
Throughout last year’s legislative session, the Blue Collar Coalition ran digital campaigns across social media and news sites to push the New York State legislature to define public work and pass prevailing wage legislation. If you haven’t already, we invite you to like and follow the Blue Collar Coalition on Facebook and Twitter; and check out our ads on YouTube. You can find more information at www.bluecollarny.com.
We have a lot more planned for 2020 and will be in touch in the weeks ahead with updates and ways that you can get involved to make a difference. We want to thank you for all of your work this year and we look forward to a productive legislative session that benefits union carpenters. Best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year.