|Posted:||June 11, 2013 10:06 AM|
|From:||Representative Ron Miller|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Prevailing Wage Local Option|
|In these challenging economic times, cutting expenses for services and supplies are topics of conversation for everyone. Government, private businesses large and small, school districts, and families are all searching for ways to minimize their expenses and become more efficient with the resources they have available. Throughout the Commonwealth, however, millions of dollars of infrastructure needs go unmet every year because political subdivisions are forced to comply with one particularly onerous and outdated mandate, the Prevailing Wage Act.
The Prevailing Wage Act requires that all public bodies pay the prevailing minimum wage, as determined by the Secretary of Labor and Industry, to workmen on a “public works project”. A “public work” is defined in the Act as any construction, repair, demolition, or alteration paid for in whole (or in part) out of the funds of a public body where the total estimated cost exceeds $25,000.
It is important to note that the prevailing wage threshold has not changed since the Kennedy Administration and that there is no cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for the threshold in current law. At today’s cost levels, the $25,000 prevailing wage threshold virtually applies to every infrastructure project - in the meantime, cost-of- living has increased sevenfold. Furthermore, a preponderance of evidence has indicated that the use of prevailing wage rates generally raises the cost of public works projects anywhere from 5%-20%.
In the near future I intend to introduce legislation which would allow political subdivisions (or an authority, agency, or instrumentality thereof) to elect, by ordinance or resolution, to exclude themselves from the requirements of the Prevailing Wage Act.
To maximize the value of every taxpayer dollar, we must give our local government organizations flexibility to forego burdensome, outdated requirements so that they may keep costs down, keep property taxes under control, and balance their budgets.
Introduced as HB1538