Partner Voices 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.
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 We believe this is an overreaction to recent congressional action, which repealed a federal law that never went into effect.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.
A new report by the Empire Center confirms what many have believed for years – New York State’s prevailing wage law drives up construction costs as much as 25 percent, squandering precious tax dollars in the process.
Many local manufacturing plants and employers are facing a similar challenge – they will see a significant number of retirements over the next several years.
Several of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership’s state advocacy priorities are now on hold after the Governor and State Legislature failed to reach a final budget agreement. To keep state government running, the Legislature did pass a stop-gap measure through the end of May. This budget extender does includes key issues important to the Partnership and economic development efforts in Buffalo Niagara. They are:
Governor Cuomo’s Executive Budget proposal contains an item critical to bringing down the cost of electricity for local manufacturers. The Governor’s plan calls for the scheduled sunset of the 18-a Utility Tax on March 31, 2017. A mandated tax on the end user’s utility bill, 18-a hits manufacturers and other high demand users the hardest and puts them at a competitive disadvantage.
2015-2016 Annual Report to Members Event
On June 22, we presented our Annual Report to more than 300 member company representatives and community members. A main theme of our presentation was the realignment of our staff, our council work, and our policy development to ensure we efficiently and effectively advance the region. Through this realignment, we focused our advocacy efforts, grew our role within workforce development, and celebrated a public private partnership to advance downtown Buffalo.