Governor vetoes Cost-Benefit Analysis Bill despite enormous support
By DEBORAH A. MILES
The Cost-Benefit Analysis Bill was overwhelming passed by both houses of the Legislature and highly supported by labor organizations, yet Gov. Andrew Cuomo vetoed the bill on December 7.
If the bill had been signed into law, it would have further protected state jobs and saved taxpayers billions of dollars, as it would have regulated the process for awarding contracts for certain types of consultant services by state agencies.
If signed, it would have amended the state finance law. And, it would not allow a state agency to enter a contract for consultant services anticipated to cost more than $750,000 in a twelve-month period unless the agency has conducted a review to determine whether or not state employees could do the same job, for the same amount of money or a lower cost.
The bill contained language that the state comptroller would also review the completed business plan.
PEF President Wayne Spence said, “PEF was successful in getting both the state Senate and Assembly to pass this bill. Please know we will pick up this fight again next legislative session, because nothing is more important than protecting our jobs from privatization.
“I want to thank you for the phone calls, letters and emails you sent in support of the legislation. Your efforts were not in vain. Legislative leaders from around the state heard our voices and will be working with us in the upcoming legislative session to get a new version of Cost Benefit Analysis on the books.” (See PEF President Spence’s message to PEF members on the morning of Saturday, December 8, 2019)
The state AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento wrote, in part to the governor, “At a time when resources are stretched thin, the state can’t afford to waste money on outside contracts when its own employees provide greater value. This legislation simply requires that the state performs its due diligence before entering into contracts with outside vendors to ensure that doing so is the most cost-effective option. This should already be common practice, but unfortunately experience shows it is not.”
Francine Turner, CSEA Director of Legislative and Political Action, wrote, “This bill provides reasonable exceptions, including for services that are particularly specialized, urgent or short-term in nature or where the agency can demonstrate a quantifiable improvement in services that cannot be reasonably duplicated by state employees.
On behalf of 300,000 active and retired, public and private employees across New York state, CSEA respectfully requests favorable Executive action on this legislation.”
NYSUT Director of Legislation Christopher J. Black, sent the following to the governor.
“State government provides a wide range of services that are essential to the public through the dedicated work of public employees and vital state services are increasingly being privatized and contracted out to consultants. Each year, New York state spends hundreds of millions of dollars on expensive consultants, when public employees can and do provide the same or better services for a lower cost to taxpayers.
“The adoption of this bill will cut costs, provide transparency and ensure that our taxpayers are getting high quality, cost-effective services.”
PSI General Secretary Rosa Pavanelli sent a letter of support to Spence, who shared it with the governor.
Pavanelli said, “Rather than bringing in corporations to provide services and pay for them to maximize their profits, state government should be using limited funding to improve access to services and enhance service quality. This is how we can build trust in government and improve our communities. Any decision to privatize a service must be undertaken through a transparent process and must be weighed against the ability of state employees to provide these same serve more effectively and efficiently. PSI supports your legislative efforts for quality public services and we stand ready to help in bringing greater accountability to the privatization process.”
Spence called the support of other state unions who urged the governor to sign the Cost-Benefit Analysis Bill, “a tremendous effort of solidarity, and unions standing together to do the right thing for the state.”