Time for Prevailing Wage Reform | Support HB 1329

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives may soon vote on legislation that will update the half-century-old Prevailing Wage Law that adds zero value to the taxpayers but costs us a bundle — upwards of $900 per year for the typical family of four.

Today, we joined with a broad goup of organizations representing business, taxpayers, and local government officials working for a minimal improvement of the law — indexing the threshold to inflation.

Will the Union Party prevail once again on Prevailing Wage?  For the sake of the taxpayers and local governments trying not to raise taxes, we hope not!

Take action NOW to encourage your Representative to vote for the Taxpayers!

April 3, 2012

To the Honorable Members of the Pennsylvania State House:

The undersigned organizations representing local governments, the business community, taxpayers and others write to urge your support for H.B. 1329 as written, which would raise the threshold for a public project to be subject to the PA Prevailing Wage Act. This bill will help ease financial burdens for counties, municipalities and school districts, mitigate property tax increases and create jobs. 

Our organizations support repealing the PA Prevailing Wage Act, which mandates that workers on public projects be paid anywhere from 30 to 75 percent above the market rate. The Commonwealth, counties, municipalities and school districts are operating with increasingly limited funding and this mandate is one more obstacle impeding efforts to balance local budgets while still providing essential services and important public works projects.

This premium provides no benefit to the public while adding billions of dollars in extra costs for those most unable to afford it: Pennsylvania taxpayers. Based on estimates of the amount spent on labor costs for public projects and the disparity between average wages and “prevailing” wages, in 2010 this mandate costs a typical Pennsylvania family of four up to $900. This extra cost for taxpayers does not buy a bigger building, better materials or a safer structure and it is simply wrong to ask Pennsylvania residents to incur this expense when they get nothing in return.

H.B. 1329 would raise the threshold from $25,000 to $185,000 to account for inflation over the 50 years since the original threshold was set. Even prevailing wage supporters cannot deny that the original legislators who facilitated passage and implementation of this Act must have had some concept of the type and scale of project to which prevailing wage should apply, or why include a threshold at all? Clearly, $25,000 does not buy in 2012 what it did in the early 1960s.

That is why hundreds of local governing bodies from all over the Commonwealth have expressed support for this bill, and prevailing wage reform in general, through resolutions, outreach to the media and contact with their local state legislators. Their message is clear: this legislation will create jobs by allowing local governments to use taxpayer dollars more efficiently, allow them to carry out long-overdue maintenance such as road repairs, and initiate more public projects.

We urge you to support H.B. 1329.



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