Pennsylvania’s prevailing wage law passed in 1961 requires all local governments and state agencies to pay workers a rate determined by the state’s Secretary of Labor for any “construction, reconstruction, demolition, alteration and/or repair work.”
This law has been shown to hike labor costs for school additions and such by as much as 44 percent.
Seven bills, some which would radically reform how prevailing wage is handled in Pennsylvania, were voted out of the Labor and Industry Committee of the State House chaired by Rep. Ron Miller (R- 93) on Oct. 3.
The most significant would be HB 1191 sponsored by Rep. Ron Marsico (R-105) which exempts local governments (school districts, municipalities and counties) from prevailing wage requirements — unless they really, really want them.
That raises the question as to what local government could possible want them. Go to Upper Darby, stand on the west bank of Cobbs Creek and look east. See that big, steaming pit of greed, corruption and incompetence? That one.
Also voted out of committee were:
HB 709 sponsored by Warren Kampf (R-157) which simply exempts school districts from the requirements.
HB 1271 sponsored by Rep. Marsico which would clarify, and expand, the maintenance exemptions for road work from prevailing wage requirements.
HB 1329 sponsored by Fred Keller (R-85) which would raise to $185,000 the point at which which projects become subject to prevailing wage requirements. The mark is now set at $25,000 as it has been since 1961. That amount in 1961 dollars roughly equals $185,000 today. Keller’s bill would require the limit to be adjusted annually for inflation or deflation.
HB 1367 sponsored by Rep. Miller which would require the Secretary of Labor to use data from the Labor Department’s Center for Workforce and Analysis in determining the prevailing wage.
HB 1541 sponsored by Scott Perry (R-92) which would require a project to be at least 51-percent publicly funded to be subject to prevailing wage restrictions.
HB 1685 sponsored by John Bear (R-97) which would standardize and require the public listings of worker classifications.
All the bills would help the taxpayer. With HB 1191, however, the taxpayer might actually notice it.