Cuomo wants to exempt NYC from prevailing wage bill

The union-backed state assembly bill would expand prevailing wage to more workers in government-funded projects

Governor Andrew Cuomo (Credit: Getty Images)
Governor Andrew Cuomo (Credit: Getty Images)

New York City developers who have sounded off alarms over the new prevailing wage bill have found an ally in Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The governor is pushing to leave the city out of a bill that would broaden which public-works projects require higher wages, according to the Wall Street Journal. He has previously expressed support to expand the measure.

“This time of year in the Capitol you have a lot of political desires, which are sometimes uninformed or unsophisticated as to the actual effect,” Cuomo told a public radio station this week. “If you pass a prevailing-wage law that actually stops construction, then you help no one.”

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The bill, which was introduced to the State legislature by Assemblyman Harry Bronson, a Rochester Democrat, would expand the definition of public works to include projects that receive more than 30 percent of government funding, and therefore make them eligible for prevailing wage benefits for workers on those sites.

Earlier this month, Albany legislators were considering including wage thresholds that vary by region. Under that proposal, a New York City project could receive as much as $1 million in subsidies without requiring prevailing wage. A new commission would determine how much support a project could get from an industrial development agency before prevailing wage requirements take hold.

Unions have long advocated for the bill ahead of the closing of the legislative session this week. But New York City developers say the measure would impose “revolutionary change” and have a negative effect. [WSJ] —David Jeans