ALBANY, N.Y. — Gov. Eliot Spitzer has vetoed legislation that would make permanent the portions of the New York State Apparel Workers Fair Labor Conditions and Procurement Act that created the special Sept. 11 Bidders Registry.
The registry gives preferred status for competitive bids on contracts from state agencies and public authorities to apparel and textile manufacturers and contractors adversely affected by 9/11. There are currently 70 companies on the registry.
If one of these firms bids on a state or public authority contract and its bid is no more than 15 percent greater than the lowest bid, it is awarded the contract. Those provisions were intended to be temporary and to expire on Sept. 1, 2005, but have been extended until Sept. 1, 2008.
“The registry has served a very laudable and necessary purpose — providing assistance to those companies that were seriously harmed by the events of Sept. 11,” Spitzer said. “The attacks on the World Trade Center placed a large number of apparel companies at a significant disadvantage and the registry sought to level the playing field with their competitors. During the past six years, the registry has helped to achieve that goal.
“These temporary benefits should not be continued in perpetuity, however, because the preference given to these companies makes it harder for other apparel companies to compete and increases costs to the state’s taxpayers. Moreover, the adverse impacts of the World Trade Center attacks have diminished over time, thereby reducing the need for continuing these preferences.”
Spitzer noted that more than a year remains before these provisions expire. He said he is asking the Department of Labor and the Empire State Development Corp. to review the impact of the registry on the apparel industry and to report to him and the state legislature as to whether bidding preferences and other provisions in the 2002 law should be continued beyond September 2008.