Suffolk County has passed a law that will limit opportunities for local small businesses, reduce competition for government contracts and increase construction costs for county taxpayers ["Protest over Suffolk labor law," News, Feb. 27].

The law will essentially prohibit many qualified contractors from bidding on government projects because the contractors don't have apprenticeship programs. The law limits the pool of contractors that may bid to those that have recently graduated at least one worker in each job title required for each project from a state-approved apprenticeship program. What the law fails to take into account is the heavy burden shouldered by many small businesses to manage these programs in-house.

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Across the country, most local, county and state governments award work to the lowest responsible bidder. This increases competition and results in lower costs for taxpayers. By arbitrarily eliminating most local construction firms from bidding on taxpayer-funded projects, this irresponsible law will result in higher costs for taxpayers.

Suffolk County businesses deserve the opportunity to bid on projects their taxes help pay for. When dealing with publicly funded projects, higher costs either mean fewer projects completed for the money or additional public funds needed.

Brian Sampson, East Syracuse

Mike Durant, Albany

Editor's note: The writers are, respectively, the president of the Empire State Chapter of Associated Builders & Contractors and the New York State director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, which are membership trade organizations.