Legislative Memo

Johnny Evers
Director of Government Affairs
T 518.465.7511


S.7861 (Martins) /A.10141 (Bronson)



Relates to hours, wages and supplements in contracts for public work



May 24, 2016


The Business Council of New York State, the state’s leading statewide business and industry association, strongly opposes this legislation that would impose public works “prevailing wage” standards on most projects receiving any level of state financial support.

Currently entities such as industrial development authorities (IDAs) and local development corporations, amongst others, help facilitate significant economic development projects around the State. These entities solicit projects, research and vet them, then provide needed logistics and financing to bring multi-million dollar projects to fruition. Under this proposed law, such entities would now be classified as “public entities” and the projects in which they engage “public works.”

As such, when these “public entities” act as a financial supporter of projects by the “issuance of bonds and grants” or they engage “a third party acting on behalf of and for the benefit” of the “public entity”, they shall be classified as public works projects. Further, the bill lists a variety of scenarios under which various projects would be deemed public works when “the state or public entities” lend even the slightest of financial supports. If any of the numerous entities classified as “public entities” under this new law secures funding, waives a fee, reduces or forgives a charge, or transfers any property at less than fair market, the project is deemed a public works project subject to prevailing wage laws.

The bill also goes to great lengths in describing a vast and inclusive list of all work deemed “construction” running the full gamut from pre-planning/survey to construction and “custom fabrication” culminating in “all cleanup work.” Thus, the bill both expands the definition of “public entity”-supported projects as well as capturing almost any conceivable “construction” activity to insure the project contains some aspect of “public work” requiring its classification under this new law. To enforce these new and radical changes, the bill provides for “stop-work orders” when a complaint is received regarding the nature of these projects vis-à-vis these new changes under the Labor Law.

By unilaterally changing the status of the entities providing economic development and deeming all work assisted by said entities as public work, New York State risks a massive increase in the overall cost of construction and great uncertainty in the exact status of private economic development. For these reasons The Business Council urges its defeat.