State Representative Stephen Bloom
199th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Abbey Fosnot RepBloom.com
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 12, 2011
Bills to Reform Pennsylvania’s Prevailing Wage Law Pass Committee, Says Bloom
HARRISBURG— A package of legislation aimed at reforming Pennsylvania’s Prevailing Wage Act was passed by the House Labor and Industry Committee last week, said Rep. Stephen Bloom (R-Cumberland), a member of the committee and a co-sponsor of the package.
The Prevailing Wage Act of 1961 established "prevailing" minimum wage rates that must be paid on public construction projects. The Act requires workers on public projects costing more than $25,000 to be paid the prevailing wage in their region. However, the original act does not establish a procedure for how that rate of pay is determined.
"The current law is 50 years old and doesn’t reflect today’s economic realities," said Bloom. "There are many areas, including central Pennsylvania, where the mandated prevailing wage rates artificially inflate the cost of taxpayer-funded projects well above what would otherwise be charged by contractors, so taxpayers get squeezed, getting less bang for their tax dollars."
The legislative package, which was passed by the House Labor and Industry Committee earlier this week, is comprised of the following bills:
• House Bill 709 – Makes the Prevailing Wage Act a local option for school districts by school board referendum.
• House Bill 1191 – Makes the Prevailing Wage Act a local option for municipalities or school districts by ordinance or referendum.
• House Bill 1271 – Exempts several basic road maintenance actions from the Prevailing Wage Act.
• House Bill 1329 – Increases the total cost that a public project must exceed in order to fall under the jurisdiction of the Prevailing Wage Act from $25,000 to $185,000, to then be adjusted annually based on changes in the Consumer Price Index.
• House Bill 1541 – Requires a public project to be at least 51 percent publicly funded in order to fall under the Prevailing Wage Act.
• House Bill 1685 – Requires the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry to develop one set of job classification definitions for use by contractors statewide, making compliance with the Prevailing Wage Act’s payment requirements easier for contractors.
"The way the current law is written puts an unnecessary financial burden on Pennsylvania taxpayers," said Bloom. "This package of bills would save taxpayer money and update the current law to control the high costs of these projects."
All six bills passed the committee largely along party lines and have now been sent to the full House for consideration.
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