Executive Budget Proposal
After releasing the budget in January, the Legislature held a series of budget hearings that finished on the 17th of February. On the 18th of February the Governor offered up some slight changes to her proposal via the 30-day amendment process which is afforded through the NYS Constitution. Now the budget conversation turns to the Legislature. The Senate and Assembly will each come up with their own budgets outlining their priorities and also provide feedback in the form of accepting, rejecting, or modifying what the Governor proposed. That process will culminate by the middle of March and then the Legislature will convene conference committees to negotiate with the Governor to produce an on time budget by April 1. Having a substantial surplus will help move things along for sure. But speaking of the surplus, the collective business community is already advocating for some of the money to be put directly into the UI trust fund that has been severely depleted thanks to the COVID pandemic. NRLA will continue to strongly advocate for some form of A.7788 (Zebrowski) / S.6971-A (Kaplan) which specifies employer contributions to the unemployment insurance fund and the unemployment insurance maximum benefit rate to be considered as part of the budget.
Some other budget proposals that the Governor is recommending relate to the Building Code. Many folks are concerned, including but not limited to the Home Builders. We have been active in our advocacy against each of the bills listed below and will continue to weigh in throughout the budget process. Stay tuned for Action Alerts. They are:
– Part VV – Strengthen Code Enforcement Standards and to restore funding to local governments enforcing the Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code.
– Part EEE – better known as the Advanced Building Codes, Appliance and Equipment Efficiency Standards, and Building Benchmarking Act of 2022.
– Part AA – Accessory Dwelling Unit Act of 2022. Removed by the Governor as part of the 30-day amendment process but still in play via legislation introduced in both houses.
In addition to participating in the Budget process, The Vandervort Group will continue to work on NRLA’s priority issues, including:
Our “Construction Trades Workforce Development” initiative continues to flourish and grow. What started with the Saratoga Builders Association and Curtis Lumber has blossomed into a full blown well organized advocacy effort in support of the legislation mentioned in the January Report as it related to salaries for Career and Technical Education (CTE) teachers which are run through BOCES. We now have over 400 organizations signed on in support of the effort. CTE programs help businesses in New York by providing essential training to students which allows them to develop the necessary hands-on skills to successfully enter into the workforce. Despite the success of these programs around the State, funding for CTE programs has not kept pace with the program needs. Currently, the reimbursement rate for CTE is only up to $30,000 per CTE teacher and that rate hasn’t been increased since 1990. Since we are talking about increasing the rate from $30,000 to $60,000 over three years the legislative ask makes it ideal to be considered as part of the budget. We are asking the Governor and Legislature to include the funding as part of the final budget. Be on the look-out for Action Alerts. We are also looking into Apprenticeship program opportunities for the retail lumber industry as well as other avenues, programs, platforms, and additional funding opportunities to best meet the needs of the construction trades and material suppliers.
Our goal this session still remains to approach our contractor friends to see if they would be amenable to allowing for an amendment to the recently enacted “substantial completion” law. The amendment we would like to advance for their consideration would allow retainage applied to materials supplied and accepted to be considered upon delivery as substantially complete for the purposes of release of retainage so long as the lumber is graded or the materials have a warranty. We have added another angle to our strategy based on a conversation we had with Mike Misenhimer who is Executive Director of the Northeastern Subcontractor’s Association, Inc. Mike suggested that we consider asking the recently enacted Construction Industry Advisory Council on Public Contracting Reform group to add our retainage issue to the agenda for consideration. Our Assembly sponsor Ed Braunstein is in support of both approaches and we are going to follow-up with our Senate Sponsor John Brooks.
Pay When Paid Law
Kirk did speak with the Tax Department in February with a follow-up call scheduled in early March. Initial feedback is that all seems to be in order with the program. We may not need to address anything but will know better after the March conversation.