Your house may feel warm in the winter, but all of the money you’re paying won’t be going to heat.

Yesterday, the prevailing wages for service workers bill was passed by the Senate, generally along party lines.  Sponsored by Sen. Eric Schneiderman and Assemblyman Michael Gianaris, the bill will extend wage mandate requirements to private businesses with a focus on energy companies.   New York State’s high energy costs did not just occur overnight, but result from an extensive history of being subject to high taxes, fees and regulations in this country.  If enacted, the bill will dictate to many companies across NY that they will need to pay prevailing wage to various levels of service workers.  This bill, if signed, would be another hidden tax on Upstate homes and business owners.

There is good news and the bad news on this bill:

  • Good news:  The bill has not yet passed the Assembly
  • Bad news: The bill was passed by the Senate last evening.

If the Assembly follows suit and passes this bill, it will mean that each of us will be paying more for our utilities.  This is simply the wrong time to be passing on more wage mandates and hidden taxes.

Keep in mind that state and local government taxes make up more than a quarter of New York electric bills, according to a report released by the Public Policy Institute in March of 2010.  Now with this bill, homeowners and business owners will have to deal with their energy costs going up and the reliability of the energy grid becoming compromised.  While taxes and fees go up, the amount of available resources goes down.  Disasters such as the 2006 Queens blackout and the 2007 explosion outside Grand Central Terminal occurred due to older and out of date equipment.  This legislation will take away some of the critical pieces of New York’s energy production & delivery, which are necessary for the energy infrastructure to be capable of serving the needs of a 21st century economy.

For your records, the bill was passed along party lines with the Democratic Majority and one GOP Senator (Frank Padavan) all voting for it.  That includes Senators Bill Stachowski, Antoine Thompson, David Valesky, Darrell Aubertine, and Neil Breslin…all of whom are from Upstate NY and supposedly looking out for our best interests.  This is the third time that bills have been passed that will hurt Upstate NY.  That includes:

  • The 18A Assessment from last year’s budget was a $575 million dollar tax
  • The bill that was passed last week to open all of the State Parks, which included a new tax on some manufactures with the bulk of that tax being covered by Upstate businesses

We need each of you and your organizations to help us continue to battle this bill.  There are three things we need you to do:

  1. If your Senator voted no (all GOP Senators except for Senator Padavan opposed the bill), please call them and thank them for supporting their constituents and doing what was right.
  2. For those of you that had a Senator vote to pass the bill, call them and remind them that it is the senseless pandering to big, organized labor unions that continue to erode the economy of our state and drive away our private sector jobs and our citizens.  Remind them that this issue will appear on our Judgment Day Scorecard and they will be responsible for their actions.
  3. Call your Assembly members and strongly urge them to vote NO on A.10257A.  We need to stop this bill from getting passed in the Assembly and to do that we must begin the calls now.

Now is not the time to be shy my friends.  With roughly three weeks left in this session, there are still many problematic bills that remain in play.  Let’s keep the conversations going and the noise level high… we are united in our efforts to reform NYS Government and make it work for the people.

You should know that this is a scorecard issue for Unshackle Upstate and the Unshackle Army.  Those who took the initiative to oppose this bill will be rewarded with a clearer conscience, while those who were in support will have to suffer consequences for decisions that were made.

We will not forget this when we go to the polls on Judgment Day 11/2/10!