BCW’s Coalition to Save Smart Development Brought Together Major Development Companies in Successful Effort to Prevent Passage of Prevailing Wage Legislation that Threatened Economic Development, Job Growth and Urban Revitalization
RYE BROOK, NY (June 21, 2019) — The State Legislature’s failure to enact proposed Prevailing Wage legislation in the current session spared Westchester from a potentially devastating impact on new development, particularly in the county’s urban centers, according to the Business Council of Westchester (BCW.)
“Through our Westchester Coalition to Save Smart Development we have worked tirelessly over the last six months to present the reasons why requiring Prevailing Wage for development projects receiving any form of financial incentive from the state, would have a catastrophic impact on job creation and economic development,” said Marsha Gordon, BCW President and CEO. “We are thankful that in the end, the bill did not go to a vote.”
“Our Coalition brought together the leaders of the major development projects that are transforming Westchester’s urban centers into vibrant hubs and creating job opportunities across the county now and into the future,” she said. “The incentives offered by the state are accomplishing what they are intended to do, which is to encourage and enable major economic investment, notably in areas that are most in need of revitalization and new investment. Linking the incentives to paying Prevailing Wage would add significantly to the cost of a project, and effectively would erase the value of the incentives and make the projects economically unviable, which is self-defeating.”
John Ravitz, BCW Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, said: “For the last seven years the BCW has opposed Prevailing Wage legislation because we recognized the negative impact on future economic development. This year’s version of the bill, however, was even more onerous than in the past and had a stronger base of legislative support. That’s when we brought together the development community for a larger-scale outreach effort.”
Ravitz said the Coalition met with members of the Governor’s office as well as the Assembly and Senate, including the prime sponsors of the bill, and held roundtable discussions with members of the Westchester Legislative Delegation. Additionally, members of the Coalition met with labor leaders in an effort to find areas of agreement. Lastly, a media campaign was also launched to get the word out on the potentially devastating legislation.
Ravitz noted that the Prevailing Wage bill had state-wide impact, and the BCW was an active member of a coalition of business and economic development organizations from across the state that opposed the proposed legislation. “There was tremendous unity on the damaging effects of Prevailing Wage, and that gave added strength to regional efforts like ours,” he said.
The BCW will continue the Coalition to Save Smart Growth. “With the help and commitment of the members of this group, we will be an active leader not only on the Prevailing Wage issue, but in keeping a careful watch on legislation that prevents the economic development projects that create jobs and bring new revenues to our municipalities and county,” Ravitz said.