Representative Stephen Bloom
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Abbey Fosnot
RepBloom.com / Facebook.com/RepBloom / Twitter.com/RepBloom
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 11, 2013
Bloom Introduces Legislation to Expand Prevailing Wage Reforms
Bill seeks to deliver fairness and cost savings to taxpayers
HARRISBURG – While the transportation funding bill that was recently signed into law included a much-needed update to Pennsylvania’s controversial Prevailing Wage Law, Rep. Stephen Bloom (R-Cumberland) today introduced legislation to take prevailing wage reform a step further.
The Prevailing Wage Act of 1961 established artificially high "prevailing" wage rates that must be paid for work on taxpayer-funded public construction projects, even when contractors are readily available to do the same work for substantially lower market rates. The act previously required workers on public projects costing more than $25,000 to be paid the inflated prevailing wage in their region, but a provision included in Act 89 of 2013 raised the threshold to $100,000 on locally funded highway and bridge projects.
"While raising the threshold on local highway and bridge projects is certainly a step in the right direction, there remains an urgent and pressing need for additional reform," Bloom said. "Even under the new law, the antiquated $25,000 prevailing wage threshold still applies to all public construction projects other than locally funded highways and bridges, which means anything built by any local government entity except highways and bridges is still costing hard-working taxpayers 10 percent to 40 percent more than necessary."
Bloom’s bill, House Bill 1915, would establish uniformity and substantial cost savings by increasing the prevailing wage threshold from $25,000 to $100,000 on any project not already covered in the recently enacted transportation law.
"While I continue to advocate for the full repeal of the wasteful Prevailing Wage Law, raising the threshold in a fair and uniform manner for all public projects will avoid the administrative complexity and expense imposed by a new two-tiered prevailing wage threshold, while allowing school districts and municipal entities, and the taxpayers who fund them, to avail themselves of substantial savings and efficiency," Bloom added.
Bloom’s bill would allow local governments to further stretch their budgets by exempting, for example, small scale township and borough projects, school projects and recreational projects.
"Now that Pennsylvania has finally decided to stretch local taxpayer dollars into more miles of highways and bridges, we must apply that same commonsense reform to other types of improvements," Bloom said.
House Bill 1915 has been referred to the House Labor and Industry Committee.
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