Residents of New York accompaniment abide to abscond in droves, gluttonous jobs and lower taxes. The botheration is worse in upstate New York because our breadth has been hit adamantine with job losses in accomplishment in contempo decades and Albany imposes crippling mandates — accompaniment programs and regulations paid for in allotment application bounded acquirement — consistent in the nation’s accomplished property-tax burden.
Albany aloof doesn’t get it. Alike worse, accompaniment behavior decay federal dollars — decidedly back Washington helps pay for busline and architecture projects.
Take New York’s Scaffold Law. Originally allowable in the backward 19th century, afore workers’ advantage statutes were passed, it was declared to assure architecture workers afflicted in work-related falls.
The law allows an afflicted artisan to sue and imposes complete accountability on the acreage buyer and architecture employer. So alike if a artisan were bashed and afflicted himself in a fall, the law dictates that the architect and acreage buyer are responsible, with no befalling to altercate for a aegis of allusive negligence, which banned the bulk owners charge pay in such cases because the artisan contributed at atomic in allotment to the injury.
Absolute accountability additionally agency construction-insurance costs in the Empire Accompaniment are college — indeed, abundant college — than in the 49 added states. Since Illinois alone its complete accountability accepted in 1995, New York is the alone accompaniment larboard with such a law.
The aftereffect has been college costs on beneath architecture projects in New York. A 2013 Rockefeller Institute of Government abstraction estimated that the state’s construction-liability law increases costs by about 7 percent on projects aural New York. And admitting the Scaffold Law, it turns out New York state’s architecture sites are no safer than those in states area a “comparative negligence” accepted of aggregate albatross is used.
And it’s not as if some faceless developer is address the accountability for all this red tape. Everyday New Yorkers charge accept the cost: A archetypal single-family home in in New York costs anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 added than it would after a wholly biased Scaffold Law.
Then there’s the affliction the law brings to taxpayers in charge of above busline projects. The Tappan Zee Bridge is estimated to accept amount $200 actor added acknowledgment to the Scaffold Law. The awfully important Gateway Project, including two new commuter-rail tunnels beneath the Hudson River now estimated to amount $13 billion, could decay potentially hundreds of millions on allowance costs due to the Scaffold Law.
And that affliction isn’t advance evenly: Accountability for architecture accidents on the New Jersey ancillary of the river for the Gateway Project will be complete by allusive negligence; on the New York side, complete liability. It makes no sense.
Since Albany won’t act, I’ve alien federal legislation — the Basement Expansion Act — which will crave states to administer a comparative-negligence accepted instead of complete accountability on all projects accepting federal aborigine funding. Given America’s basement needs, we shouldn’t decay a distinct dollar on boundless accountability costs back that money could be bigger acclimated architecture tunnels, convalescent bridges and rebuilding roads.
Plus, casual a federal law will additionally advice body drive to change this law in Albany for all construction, thereby blurred costs for clandestine projects that don’t use federal dollars.
Let’s accomplish New York accompaniment a abode area all-important busline and bartering architecture projects are beneath big-ticket by eliminating aged rules like the Scaffold Law. By casual the Basement Expansion Act, Congress can abate costs on new projects and accomplish New York’s abridgement added competitive.
Rep. John J. Faso, a Republican, represents New York’s 19th Congressional District.
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