Shippensburg Borough Council recently passed a resolution asking for state relief from prevailing wage mandates.
Prevailing wage mandates were imposed 50 years ago in Pennsylvania, following federal Davis-Bacon Act 20 years earlier. These mandates were overtly racist in their origins, and were designed to prevent black workers from competing with white laborers on government construction projects.
State-determined “prevailing wages” in Pennsylvania average 37 percent higher than the private sector pay for the same work (and 44 percent higher in Philadelphia). Given the almost $10 billion state and local governments in the commonwealth spend on construction, repealing prevailing wage mandates (as ten states have done since 1980), could save taxpayers at least $1 billion on construction spending.
In this fiscal crunch, local governments need the flexibility to control their spending. Unfunded mandates like the prevailing wage rules place an undue burden on taxpayers. Shippensburg Borough Council should be commended for standing up to special interests and asking for relief from Harrisburg-created mandates.
See the full resolution passed by Shippensburg Borough Council below.