Industry & Legislative Resources
Prevailing Wage in Residential Construction Talking Points
S. 1947 (Ramos)/ A. 1261 (Bronson)
- Proposed legislation would apply prevailing wage laws to many residential construction and improvement projects which were previously not within the definition of public work.
- According to separate studies by the Empire Center, and the Citizens Housing Planning Council, New York State's prevailing wage law drives up total construction costs by 13 to 25 percent, depending on the region.
- According to the Citizens Housing Planning Council, there is no evidence that imposing prevailing wages would improve construction quality.
- Proposed legislation defines public work so broadly as to encompass construction of private residential buildings, which are assisted only indirectly by government.
- Prevailing wage rates include expensive union fringe benefits, which can approach or exceed the cost of hourly pay.
- Proposed legislation could require prevailing wage on any of the following:
- Local real property tax abatement or exemption
- State agency bonds issued under Federal tax exemption rules
- Guarantees through SONYMA insurance on State agency bonds which provide credit enhancement to attract private investors in apartment construction or rehabilitation
- IDA pilots
- Community Development Block Grants
- Housing and Community Renewal grants o Historic tax credits
- Mortgage recording taxes
- NYSERDA clean energy grants
- NYSERDA tax credits
- Sales tax exemptions
- Brownfield tax credits
No sound public policy reason has been put forward to justify the extension of prevailing wages to private residential construction.
Construction costs are not just important, but are the determining factor between whether or not a particular affordable workforce home is built or rental unit rehabilitated.
The imposition of prevailing wage rules on such activities will impose crippling cost burdens and difficult administrative procedures and expose small contractors and homebuilders to aspects of contracting practices encountered in large public works projects.
Prevailing wage requirements would negatively impact affordable housing throughout the state.
State and local government construction project costs are already bloated and inflated. Private construction should not be.
Respond to NYSBA's Call for Action and tell the legislature you OPPOSE prevailing wage in residential construction!
Scaffold Law Reform