Partner Voice Blog: Greg Biryla, Executive Director, Unshackle Upstate
New York State leaders have lacked the political will to fix our state’s broken Scaffold Law for decades. Now a United States Congressman is giving it a try. Rep. John Faso of the Hudson Valley has introduced federal legislation creating a workaround to New York’s burdensome, job killing mandate. The Infrastructure Expansion Act would exempt any construction project in New York State subsidized with federal funds from the state’s current Scaffold Law which mandates absolute liability on building owners and contractors.
A newly introduced piece of federal border security legislation recognizes how our regional economy depends on the easy flow of people and goods between the United States and Canada.
Congress plays a critical role in making sure Career and Technical Education is properly funded and appropriately focused. The House of Representatives did its part earlier this summer in passing the bi-partisan Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act.
The 2017 New York State Legislative session ended with little legislating, and that is not a bad thing for Buffalo Niagara employers. Compared to the busy and extended budget negotiations earlier this year, the end of session seemed sedate (As I write this, Governor Cuomo has called the Legislature back to Albany to address a few outstanding issues, chief among them mayoral control of New York City schools). Here are the highlights:
More than 1,800 permanent new jobs have been produced and greater than 4 million square feet of vacant derelict properties in the City of Buffalo has been redeveloped and revitalized as a result of the Erie County Industrial Development Agency’s (ECIDA) Adaptive Reuse program. Simply put, this program is one of the most impactful and efficient economic development tools available to employers in Western New York.
New legislation is circulating in Albany (S.5603/A.7191) that would establish unnecessary consent requirements on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) related to information they receive from their subscribers. We believe this is an overreaction to recent congressional action, which repealed a federal law that never went into effect. It also misleads the public into believing there are currently no safeguards to protect consumers.
The Trump Administration formally notified Congress of its intent to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on May 18th. This notification triggered a 90-day period before negotiations with Canada and Mexico can begin and opened a public comment period.
As part of our Government Affairs programming, we kicked-off our first of two Capital Conversation events for 2017 with a look at New York’s prevailing wage mandate and its impact on taxpayers and economic development. E.J. McMahon, founder and research director of the Empire Center came to Buffalo to detail his new report: Prevailing Waste: New York’s Costly Public Works Pay Mandate. Our event coincides with an effort underway in Albany to expand the prevailing wage mandate by attaching it some private projects.