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Move to Reform Costly Scaffold Law Getting New Life


The Business Council of Westchester co-sponsored a very successful lobbying day in Albany on Wednesday to support new legislation that would reform the Scaffold Law, which has been a key issue for the BCW for many years. The day presented an opportunity for a coalition opposed to the law to unveil new branding, a new website, and most importantly new legislation sponsored by Assemblyman John McDonald.

Wade Beltramo of the New York Conference of Mayors (NYCOM), addressed the group, describing the devastating costs that municipalities face, which are in turn passed down to every taxpayer in the state. Assemblyman McDonald, who is also a small businessman and former mayor, also spoke about his new legislation – stressing the states fast-declining competitive advantage.

It is estimated that the Scaffold Law costs taxpayers $785 million annually. In addition, the Scaffold Law is estimated to add $200–$400 million in additional costs to the construction of the new Tappan Zee Bridge.

“Reforming the Scaffold Law has been among the top legislative priorities for the Business Council of Westchester for many years,’’ said BCW Executive Vice President and COO John Ravitz. “New York is the only state in the country that holds property owners, employers and contractors absolutely liable for “gravity related” injuries that happen on the job. There is virtually no defense from a lawsuit even if the worker’s gross negligence contributed to the accident. This is not only increasing the cost of construction, making the state less competitive, but passing costs onto taxpayers and making workers less safe on the job.’’

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