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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: January 15, 2019 10:03 AM
From: Senator John R. Gordner
To: All Senate members
Subject: Reestablishing an Exemption to State Prevailing Wage Rates for Certain Federal Housing Grants
In the near future, I will introduce legislation amending the Pennsylvania Affordable Housing Act to reestablish an exemption to state prevailing wage rates for certain federally funded housing grants.

In 2016, the state Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) issued a policy that now requires the imposition of state prevailing wage rates on certain projects which utilize federal HOME grant funding. The HOME program was established by Congress in 1990 to provide funding for low-income housing assistance projects.

Prior to the enforcement of this policy, state prevailing wage rates did not apply to certain grants under the HOME program because there is a specific exemption from federal prevailing wage rates based on the number of housing units being affected.

By triggering state prevailing wage rates on these smaller projects, many counties have reconsidered whether to accept grants awarded under the HOME program. The counties that are awarded HOME grants often utilize the funds to allow low-income residents to remain in their homes by addressing the needs of the disabled or bringing properties into compliance with current safety codes. The result of L&I’s actions has been either fewer residents benefiting from this program because of the increased cost of projects or lack of access to this program because counties will not apply for these available federal funds.

I introduced similar legislation, Senate Bill 1022, in the 2017-2018 Session which was cosponsored by Senators Aument, Baker, Brooks, DiSanto, Folmer, Martin, Mensch and Stefano.

Thank you for your consideration and please contact my office if you have any questions regarding this proposed legislation.

Introduced as SB769