Lalor Supports Cuomo's Buy American Proposal, Proposes Measures to Further Protect American Jobs

By Kieran Lalor, on Jan 25, 2017

East Fishkill, NY -  Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R,C,I - East Fishkill) is supporting Governor Cuomo's proposal to require New York State government to "Buy American" on purchases of $100,000 or more. 

"This is an important boost for American and New York manufacturing jobs," said Lalor. "Our tax dollars should be spent to support American jobs. This will keep public funds here to grow New York and American manufacturing. I'm proud to support Governor Cuomo in this effort. I hope the governor will continue to support legislation to protect American jobs. That includes my legislation that would increase transparency from companies who take tax dollars from economic development programs and use the funds to hire foreign workers through H-1B visas. Companies receiving taxpayer subsidies are able to effectively outsource American jobs right here, without going overseas, while pocketing the economic development funds from the state meant to grow American jobs."

Lalor, who worked for a New York-based federal defense contractor prior to his election to the Assembly, suggested the state law mirror federal Buy American laws whereby contractors are encouraged to buy American materials and manufacture in the United States while allowing for waivers when doing so is not practicable.

Lalor has introduced legislation to address the problem of companies using tax dollars from economic development funds to hire H-1B visa holders rather than citizens or permanent resident immigrants. The bill would require companies receiving economic development funds or tax breaks from New York state or local government to disclose the number of H-1B visa workers they employ. 

Lalor added, "If the number of H-1B visa holders turns out to be excessive, as I expect it is in New York's heavily subsidized tech sector, we should deny those firms subsidies and at a minimum not count H-1B visa holders when calculating whether a subsidized company has met the job creation requirements of the agreement with the state."

H-1B visa holders are often hired and brought to the United States to be trained by their American counterparts, as a precursor to offshoring the job. New York taxpayers should not be subsidizing this.

H-1B workers do not have permanent visas and their visas are tied to their employment. While they are able to apply for permanent residence, the wait can take as long as ten years. If they switch employers, the waiting period starts again. To change jobs, an H-1B worker needs to find a new employer willing and able to sponsor the visa. These factors combine to make H-1B visas operate like indentured servitude. H-1B visa holders are limited in salary negotiations or the ability to seek a better-paying job. That’s what makes them valuable to companies. It also drives down wages for U.S. citizens and permanent resident immigrants. We cannot allow New York tax dollars to go to subsidies that support the employment of H-1B workers.

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