UPDATE: Senate holds hearing on prevailing wage bill that GOP doesn't have the votes to pass
MADISON (WKOW) -- A repeal of Wisconsin's prevailing wage law doesn't have the full support of Republicans lawmakers, but that didn't stop Senate Labor and Government Reform Committee Chair Steve Nass (R-Whitewater) from pushing it forward to a public hearing Tuesday.
Under the prevailing wage law, the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) determines wages for government construction projects using a computer formula based on data collected from an employer survey, wage rates, fringe benefit packages and union contracts.
Several workers and business owners in the road and building construction trades voiced their support for maintaining the law.
"Prevailing wage is a system that pays a living wage, it pays health care and it pays pensions to our employees. The repeal of prevailing wage will break down the system."
But some local government officials urged lawmakers to carry on with the repeal, allowing simple supply and demand to dictate wages paid on government projects.
"Abolishing the state prevailing wage law is one additional way to give power back to the local level, allowing municipalities like West Bend - greater ability to increase our services, maintain our services without increasing taxes," said Kraig Sadownikow, Mayor of West Bend.
Sen. Nass introduced an amendment to the original bill that would call for only repealing the law for local government projects.
A vote on the bill is already scheduled for Thursday in the Senate Labor Committee, but Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) has made it clear he would side with Democrats to kill it before it even reaches the senate floor.
MADISON (WKOW) -- A couple of Republican lawmakers are trying to convince a state labor committee to approve a bill that would repeal Wisconsin's prevailing wage law.
Senator Leah Vukmir and Representative Rob Hutton are the bill's chief sponsors. They told the Senate committee Tuesday morning the law artificially increases costs for local governments and repealing it would save taxpayers money.
Democratic Senator Robert Wirch says the current law helps ensure quality work. As is, workers on state or local public projects and highway projects must be paid wages equivalent to what they would earn working on other projects in the area. The labor committee's chairman, Senator Stephen Nass, says he doesn't have the votes to approve the bill. Assembly Speaker Robin Voss has said he doesn't have the votes to pass the bill out of that house and would instead will look to revise the law using Gov. Scott Walker's budget as a vehicle.
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