Today, the Utica Observer Dispatch editorialized in strong support of Scaffold Law reform.
Latest estimates are that the final cost to build the new Tappan Zee Bridge across the Hudson River at Tarrytown will be between $3.9 billion and $4.8 billion. Kieran Lalor, a Republican Assemblyman from Fishkill, says that because of New York’s Scaffold Law, state taxpayers will pay an additional $390 million for what will be one of the largest public works projects in North America.
Lalor is among a group of Albany lawmakers and others pushing to reform the 1885 law that holds contractors liable for injuries that occur on the job that are the result of a fall or of falling objects. The reform is needed because the archaic law makes construction insurance rates in New York the highest in the nation. That costs taxpayers in the long run because the cost of doing business is passed on to you.
The Scaffold Law is also detrimental to the state in other ways. Since it’s the only law of its kind in the nation — other states have scrapped such laws in favor of less costly federal workers’ compensation insurance — it requires another layer of liability insurance for contractors. That often scares away developers because it’s too costly to do business here.