Local Road Repairs and Building Projects Go Undone in Pennsylvania Due to Prevailing Wage Law
8/26/2013
HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania’s prevailing wage laws costs jobs, taxes and economicdevelopment according to municipal officials who testified before the House Labor and Industry Committee Thursday, August 22 in State College.  Rep. Stephen Bloom (R-Cumberland), who presided over the meeting, said reform of the Prevailing Wage Law is needed for the benefit of taxpayers.
 
“Prevailing wage prevents local governments from funding necessary projects,” said Bloom.  “Under prevailing wage, Pennsylvania’s municipalities and school districts just can’t afford to complete projects or don’t do them at all.”  
 
 
Those who testified included township managers, supervisors, a county commissioner and union officials.  
 
“Clearly, the prevailing wage mandate results in less roads paved and at a higher cost,” said Vana Dainty, Bellefonte Borough Council vice president, who indicated that the borough has postponed “true maintenance that was needed for our roads and was forced into doing more patching projects.”
 
Clinton County Commissioner Pete Smeltz agreed, saying, “It’s a matter of simple mathematics.  If we pay as much as 20 percent more to complete a project by most common calculations to meet prevailing wage, we must bid less jobs.  Most commissioners today in Pennsylvania will not increase taxes for major building projects but instead will use debt service and a number of small to medium projects are simply left undone.”  
 
Ferguson Township, Centre County Manager Mark Kunkle said prevailing wage caused a project to go from $20,990 to $32,980, an increase of 57 percent “without any additional change to the scope of work.  In my opinion the township did not receive any better quality of work by paying more for this portion of a project.”  
 
“The Prevailing Wage Law is a mandate; and an expensive one at that,” Bloom said. “Prevailing wage law is squelching jobs and putting an unnecessarily high burden on taxpayers, and it’s one of the big factors driving up property taxes.”

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