With great fanfare and ceremony earlier today, Mayor Michael Bloomberg vetoed the City Council’s prevailing wage bill, which would have mandated higher wages for buildings that receive tax breaks from the city. His passionate speech before vetoing the bill even referenced the World Trade Center attacks in the opening sentence in order to discuss the city’s economic history over the past decade.
Nevertheless, as can be expected when the mayor takes such a firm step against progressive legislation, unions and ambitious elected officials have sent out a barrage of statements reacting to the move, which The Politicker has assembled below.
Long story short: They would like the City Council to override Mr. Bloomberg’s veto, which is almost sure to happen as Council Speaker Christine Quinn has vowed to do so.
Marty Golden may have a labor problem on his hands, according to an unhappy political operative who had been working to get prevailing wage guarantees inserted into a tax break for developers.
The tax break, 421a, will not include a requirement that developers of any project over 80 units pay workers a prevailing wage — which would be a boon to unionized labor. Without the requirement, developers get a tax break and can, theoretically, pay workers a lower wage.
One of New York City’s Republican State Senators, Andrew Lanza, signed onto a Democrat’s proposal that included the prevailing wage requirement. Golden, the city’s only other Republican State Senator, did not.
“Lanza gets a pass,” this political operative said to me. Golden, he said, doesn’t.
Golden told me he did “everything I could” to get prevailing wage included in the deal. (He proposed having it affect projects 120 units or larger, thinking it would get negotiated down to 100, he said.)
Golden said two other, more powerful people, opposed the measure.
“The governor was against it,” said Golden, who then, rhetorically asked, “If it was so important why didn’t Shelly Silver get it done?”