|Posted:||January 14, 2015 03:35 PM|
|From:||Representative Kerry A. Benninghoff|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||PlanCon - Prevailing Wage Requirements (HB 1755 2013-14)|
|In the near future, I plan to re-introduce legislation that would provide an exception to the requirements of the Pennsylvania Prevailing Wage Act for school construction projects where a school district does not seek state reimbursement.
Due to the poor economic climate in recent years, many school districts have come under intense financial pressure which has forced them to maximize efficiencies, reduce staff, and curtail programs. In this process, school districts have also placed an ever-growing burden on local taxpayers.
This fiscal pressure faced by school districts has coincided with an escalating crisis in the system of state reimbursement for school construction known as PlanCon. In recent years, there has been an overwhelming increase in the number of applications for reimbursement; however, there have been insufficient state funds to satisfy those requests. In order to manage this situation, the PA Department of Education (PDE) has been holding back final reimbursement approval for school construction projects, creating a large backlog of projects waiting for reimbursement.
In response, the General Assembly acted last session to pass provisions in Act 82 of 2012 which imposed a moratorium prohibiting PDE from accepting any new applications for reimbursement through the PlanCon process in the 2012-13 fiscal year. This act also required PDE to conduct a study of the current PlanCon process to determine what revisions are needed, or if the program should even be sustained in its current form, and present recommendations to the General Assembly. PDE released its report in May of 2013.
More recently, Act 59 of 2013 extended the PlanCon moratorium through the 2013-14 fiscal year in. This act also included a provision requiring PDE to conduct a statewide analysis of school facilities and future capital needs and submit a preliminary report to the General Assembly by May 1, 2014.
Due to the lack of prompt state reimbursement for school construction projects, the unpredictable nature of future state reimbursements for such projects, and the growing financial stress in school district budgets across the Commonwealth I believe it is necessary for the General Assembly to provide school districts with practical mandate relief which directly supports the construction needs of school districts. To this end, my legislation provides that a school district shall not be required to comply with the provisions of the Pennsylvania Prevailing Wage Act as they relate to a school construction project if the school district does not request state reimbursement for the project. My legislation further provides that a school board shall notify PDE, in a form prescribed by PDE, when the board elects not to comply with the provisions of the Pennsylvania Prevailing Wage Act. Finally, my legislation prohibits PDE from imposing any requirements on the board other than prescribing the form in which the notice is to be provided.
Please join me in cosponsor as this legislation will not only prove beneficial to those school districts currently seeking to initiate a school construction project by creating guaranteed cost savings, it will also act as a future incentive for school districts to forego seeking state reimbursement, thus alleviating some of the stress on the PlanCon system.
Former HB 1755 cosponsors: AUMENT, BAKER , CLYMER , CUTLER , DENLINGER, DUNBAR, GINGRICH , GROVE, C. HARRIS , HICKERNELL , JAMES, KAUFFMAN , F. KELLER, M. K. KELLER , KNOWLES, LAWRENCE, MACKENZIE, MARSICO , MENTZER, MILLARD , MOUL, R. MILLER , ROCK , SAYLOR , STEVENSON , SWANGER , TALLMAN, TRUITT, and WATSON
Introduced as HB637