Budget Extender Number 4 brings NY no closer to a Fiscally Responsible Budget
New York State has punted again, with the Legislature having just passed its fourth emergency budget extension in four weeks. The State continues to face a budget deficit of $19.5 billion over the next three years, yet the Governor and New York’s legislators (on both sides of the aisle) remain more interested in partisan sniping and gamesmanship than genuine problem solving. As a result, the state’s construction industry remains hostage to cynical political posturing. Contractors on hundreds of construction projects across the state that are not 100% federally funded are still being asked to finance the state for an indefinite period of time until a budget is finalized.
No other business would accept such terms; “Keep working, finance the project, we don’t know when we will pay you, and, oh yeah, we won’t owe you any interest for late payments.”
By authorizing payments for 100% federally funded on-going construction projects the latest budget extender picks off the most visible, highest profile projects in an effort to deflect criticism. However, the vast majority of construction projects in New York State remain on hold. Other critical repair projects such as Emergency Repairs and Interim Deck replacement on the Gowanus Expressway have been bid but there has been no budgetary authority granted to award these contracts. Critical infrastructure work that puts people and businesses to work, generates tax revenues, repairs our infrastructure and supports our economy are being unfairly used as a pawn in a grim game of chicken.
GCA is insisting that Albany stop their self induced malaise, start negotiating, come up with a fiscally responsible budget and let everyone go back to work.