There is a fundamental disconnect in the Erie County Legislature about the impact of making construction projects more expensive. Members plainly don't grasp the elemental fact that as costs rise, the ability to proceed diminishes.
Legislators demonstrated their ignorance of basic economics once again this week when, for the second time in less than a month, they failed to renew a waiver from prevailing wage standards for construction projects undertaken by nonprofit agencies. It's not as though they didn't know this was important. The waiver previously existed for projects funded by the Buffalo and Erie County Industrial Land Development Corp.; lawmakers simply refused to renew it last year and refused again when they met this week.
The corporation last year approved financing for eight major projects by local nonprofits, involving more than $122 million in total investment and the potential to create or retain nearly 1,600 jobs. They are now at risk.
This is all about the Democrats' inability to act without the blessing of the unions that fund their campaigns. But they are putting jobs and investment at risk, and they are doing it at a time when both are hard to come by. And it's all in the name of making nonprofit agencies pay more than needed for projects that will benefit the public.
This is bad economics and bad policy. Democrats on the Legislature need to stop doing things that kill jobs.