Construction Contractors Association of the Hudson Valley

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People and Businesses are Leaving New York. It’s Time to Welcome them Back.

Lisa Ramirez | April 1, 2024

The world of business, and in particular, the construction business, is challenging. Recently CCA Member Joe Minuta, an architect and an Orange County legislator, invited me to be a guest on the WTBQ radio show he co-hosts with County Legislator Glenn Ehlers.

The interview started off with, “what was it like during my time in the Legislature?” That lead in reminded me of my children asking me what it was like going to school with Abe Lincoln. What was it like in the old days? Thank you to Joe and Glenn for reminding me how old I am.

Then we got into concerns for our industry, county and state. I am very troubled by state regulations on our local contractors that they must adhere to while the same requirements are not enforced on out-of-state contractors, who come here to work on a single job. When there are violations, there are never enough inspectors to get to a job site before the offending out-of-state contractor has completed his portion of the work and vanished. New York State insurances and taxes are often avoided and working conditions are questionable.

This is not a new phenomenon. I remember hearing war stories about workers being housed together in tractor trailers at a retail construction site in 1993. While I can agree with most of the regulations in place, they need to be uniformly enforced to give local contractors a fair shot. A shout out to Fellenzer Engineering for the fair and even enforcement on the Orange County IDA projects.

I also have a great concern about the outward migration of money (taxable income) and people out of New York. While Governor Hochul touts increased employment in the state, there are numerous studies - including a December 2023 study by New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli - citing the net outward migration, with the greatest being those in the $100,000-$500,000 earnings bracket.

Pattern for Progress’s May 2023 study showed that there has been an outward movement of 134,505 residents over the last 25 years in the Hudson Valley alone.

IRS data indicates that New York lost $25 billion in adjusted gross income in 2021 on top of $20 billion lost in 2020. Unacast states that New York has lost 5 percent of its population and $3.7 billion per year in state income. Amazing statistics and not in a good way!

While one could nitpick that the numbers don’t exactly agree in all the studies, those people would miss the alarming point of the fact that many New Yorkers have decided the grass is greener elsewhere.

With the incredible tax burden on our businesses and individual taxpayers, the regulatory burden and the public safety crisis caused by diminished police authority, I am afraid hard-working taxpayers will feel compelled to leave the state in even higher numbers.

Politicians in Albany need to realize we must have good paying jobs so our residents can afford to stay here. All taxpayers - individuals, businesses, our contractors and union members - shouldn’t be expected to shoulder any more tax increases. It’s time our government begins to work with the business world to make New York the Empire State once again.

On another note, if you manage people, sign up for Glenn Shepard’s newsletter (at Glenn always has an interesting and informative story to tell that gives a new perspective on people management. The late Dr. John D’Ambrosio introduced me to Glenn while John was President of the Orange County Chamber of Commerce. I’ve been a loyal follower of Glenn’s newsletter ever since, and it’s always worth the read.

Have a great spring!  See you at our annual dinner on May 7 at the Powelton Club.

Best regards,

Alan Seidman
Executive Director