A recent opinion piece in The Buffalo News (Another Voice: “Responsible development includes meeting workers’ needs,” Feb. 11) paints a rosy picture of the impact a prevailing wage expansion would have on our communities. Unfortunately, reality tells a different story.
New York State is already one of the most expensive places in the country to build. Now labor unions and Albany activists want to expand a prevailing wage mandate to any project receiving a single dollar of public support, dramatically increasing the cost of economic development across New York.
In Buffalo, this mandate would drive up the cost of public construction projects by 20 percent.
Given the already hostile business climate in New York, very little construction takes place without some form of public support, especially in upstate communities. The net result of applying a prevailing wage mandate to publicly supported private development is fewer projects becoming a reality.
This includes projects critical to improving the quality of life in our communities like affordable housing, nonprofit facilities, infrastructure, historic rebuilds and countless others.
After decades of decline, Western New York is turning a corner. The state deserves credit for investing in development and helping change our trajectory. Imposing these costly mandates would represent a huge step backwards for economic growth.
If leaders in Albany are committed to revitalizing the upstate economy, they will reject this costly proposal.