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Collins Critical of Legislature for Holding Up Key Development Bill

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Jeannine O'Brian/WBFO
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Chris Collins speaks with Leslie Allen Monday.

By Leslie Church

Buffalo, NY – Erie County Executive Chris Collins says legislative leaders are stalling $200 million worth of economic development projects.

Collins says that leaders like Chairwoman Lynn Marinelli, a Democrat from Tonawanda, are keeping not-for-profit organizations from getting tax-exempt funding. The money is being tied-up in the county legislature over the issue of union labor.

Unions want contractors to be required to offer a prevailing-wage and an apprenticeship program among other things. Collins says the Democratic majority is giving in to pressure from union demands. He says that's driving up the costs of the projects.

Democrats say they won't give the go-ahead with tax-exempt financing until workers' rights are protected.

Projects being held up include those at the Buffalo-Niagara Medical Campus, Women & Children's Hospital and several charter and private schools.