The Business Council of New York State Urges Lawmakers to Rethink Expanding Prevailing Wage


Director of Communications

Contact: Patrick Bailey (518.465.7511) 
For Immediate Release: June 6, 2019

The Business Council of New York State Urges Lawmakers to Rethink Expanding Prevailing Wage  
Proposed Legislation Would Increase Private Sector Economic Development Projects by Up to 25% 

Albany, NY – The Business Council of New York State, today, sent a memo to legislators countering recent arguments for expanding the public works prevailing wage mandate in New York State.

Lawmakers and others in support of the legislation ( S.1947 (Ramos) / A.1261 (Bronson)) have argued the expansion of prevailing wage is necessary, particularly in Upstate economies, to address significant unemployment and low wages in the construction sector.

The memo, from Vice President Ken Pokalsky, details several key facts and figures to counter the argument. For example, state statistics show construction jobs have helped New York State’s post-recession jobs growth as the number of filled positions in 2018 were 11% higher or 40,000 positions more than the levels seen during 2008.  While much of that job growth was in and around New York City, upstate construction jobs have increased as well, compared to pre-recession levels.  Most important, the construction sector, particularly Upstate, continues to pay high wages with average pay exceeding 26% of all other private sector jobs.

The full memo to the legislature can be found here

Independent studies show if the prevailing wage mandate is extended to private sector projects, it would increase their cost by up to 25% or more. This would be a significant impediment to much needed investment projects across New York State, but especially upstate. 

The Business Council of New York State joined the Don’t Block NY Building coalition which consists of nearly 50 statewide and regional business and economic development leaders fighting against expanding prevailing wage. 
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