Says New York’s ‘Scaffold Law’ wastes millions of taxpayers’ money every year

Media Contact: Christian Chase – [email protected]

(Buffalo, N.Y.) – Congressional Candidate (NY-27) and State Senator Chris Jacobs announced if elected to Congress he will re-introduce legislation sponsored by former Congressman Chris Collins. The legislation would eliminate New York’s Scaffold Law for federally funded projects in the State and protect taxpayers.

“New York is the last state in the country that still has the out-dated Scaffold Law which was enacted in the 1800s when there was very little regulations on the construction industry. The law imposes absolute liability on the owner or contractor if a worker is injured in a fall, no matter how irresponsible the worker’s actions,” said Jacobs. He continued, “For instance, a worker could be completely drunk and if he fell off even a step ladder, the owner would be completely liable in a lawsuit.”

Due to the Scaffold Law, New York State is home to many more frivolous lawsuits at construction sites and workplaces, and consequently New York has some of the highest insurance costs. In New York State a typical single-family home can cost up to $10,000 more as a result of the Scaffold Law.  The taxpayer-funded new Tappan Zee Bridge project paid $200 million more in insurance costs due to New York’s Scaffold Law.

“This all translates into construction projects costing more and inevitably taxpayers paying more,” said Jacobs. He continued, “in a state that already has a $6.1 billion budget deficit we can not afford to put more wasteful costs on the backs of taxpayers.”

The legislation Jacobs will re-introduce –called the Infrastructure Expansion Act— requires that states receiving federal money for projects will not be able to use the Scaffold Law absolute liability standard due to the unnecessary increases it causes in project costs. 

“We are no longer going to waste taxpayer money on an out-dated law that every other state except New York has eliminated long ago,” said Jacobs. He concluded, “hopefully passage of this legislation and the risk of losing federal money will cause state leaders to finally eliminate the Scaffold Law, saving New York taxpayers millions.”

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