Yesterday, the New York State Senate and Assembly released their 2019 budget plans, which include the proper definition of “public works” – thus seeking to end a long-standing and troublesome loophole. The New York Foundation for Fair Contracting applauds leaders of both chambers for taking action to protect workers and taxpayers.
To prevent wasteful spending and corruption, New York requires competitive and transparent public bidding on all public works construction projects. Unfortunately, a loophole in state law currently allows millions of taxpayer dollars to be spent without the anti-corruption and transparency demanded of traditional public work projects. This legislative change will resolve this discrepancy, on behalf of all New Yorkers.
Increasingly, economic development projects across the state fall outside the existing taxpayer and worker protections built into state law. It’s unacceptable that the current loophole allows public money to bypass these safeguards as it goes to private interests. Closing the loophole by properly defining public work to include all projects supported with public money will provide much needed accountability and transparency in government spending.
This move by legislative leaders will, if signed into law by Governor Cuomo, close the loophole and ensure taxpayer-funded construction projects are awarded to the lowest responsible bidders, not the most politically well-connected contractors.
In his State of the State address, Governor Cuomo threw his support behind bringing needed reforms to project construction with public subsidies. The NYFFC is encouraged by the stated support of the Governor and the Legislature, and looks forward to its inclusion in the state’s adopted budget.