The NYS Legislature and Governor Hochul finally came to an agreement and passed a $229 billion Budget for NYS, effectively one month past its due date. The lateness was due largely because of disagreements over changes to the bail law and other policy proposals that were included in the Budget. Some of the relevant Budget items included:
• The minimum wage will be raised to $17 in New York City and some of its suburbs and $16 in the rest of the state by 2026. Further increases after that will be linked to inflation.
• Most new construction (buildings under seven stories) would be required to have zero-emissions (no gas furnaces or stoves) starting in 2026. It will not affect existing buildings.
• Governor Hochul’s plan to create 800,000 affordable housing units across NYS was not included in the final Budget.
• There was no funding in the Budget to help small businesses with unemployment debt.
• The Assembly’s proposal to apply a 25-cent fee on delivery transactions failed to advance.
• The Senate’s language to provide price escalation relief to state contractors and subcontractors due to spikes in material during COVID also failed to advance.
• Negotiations did not include CTE funding to help boost workforce development in the construction trades.
Unemployment Amnesty Period for Employers – With no movement in the NYS Budget negotiations, we will seek to introduce the bill sponsored by Assemblyman Stirpe in 2022 to provide an amnesty period for employer contributions to the unemployment insurance trust.
• Retainage – Assemblyman Braunstein introduced A.1194, and Senator Monica Martinez has agreed to sponsor the bill in the Senate. Our attempts to pull retainage into the Budget fell off the table when the Governor’s affordable housing proposal was rejected. Due to the focus on resolving the Budget, there was a delay in introducing the bill in the Senate. Now that the Budget is over, we will reinvigorate our attempts to get the bill introduced by Senator Martinez and work to advance the bill in both houses.
Workforce Development – The Assembly has not yet introduced a companion to Senator Mayer’s bill, S. 5024, which is the CTE bill we are supporting. There is a significant interest by the Legislature and the Governor’s Office to invest in our workforce and focus on the trades. To accomplish this, we need state funding and support in each community. Again, now that the Budget is agreed-to, we can focus on securing state funding through available Budget allocations and agencies that have purview over workforce development programs to help the construction trades develop a strong workforce.
Deforestation – Assemblyman Zebrowski introduced A.5682 as a companion to Senator Krueger’s deforestation bill, S. 4859. The Senate passed their bill on April 25th. We are going to work with other like-minded organizations including ESFPA, AFPA, and AGC to voice our concerns with these bills to the NYS Assembly.
In our next report, we will provide details on our very successful Lobby Day in Albany on May 2nd. We appreciate all of the NRLA members that took the time to participate in the day.