Testimony City Budget

Comments on Proposed Small Business Services Rule on Bus Contracts

Pursuant to Section 1301 of the New York City Charter

January 30, 2017

Citizens Budget Commission submits the following comment:

Pursuant to Section 1301 of the New York City Charter (“the Charter”), the New York City Department of Small Business Services is proposing to continue for a third year the program that provides grants to companies that provide school bus transportation in order to maintain the wages and benefits of certain employees.

Citizens Budget Commission opposed the legislation authorizing this program and continues to object to it. These grants constitute supplementary payments to City contractors over and above the terms of legally binding, competitively bid contracts, in exchange for no additional services. This type of payment undermines the integrity of the City's regular bidding and contracting process and sets a troublesome precedent for other vendors that provide services to the City to seek similar de facto enhancements to their contracts. That what was supposed to be a one-time grant is now being renewed for a third year only reinforces the apparent status of this supplemental funding as an entitlement, not a temporary bridge to new, more cost effective bus contracts.

We urge the administration to discontinue this program.