Prevailing Wage Supporters & Opponents Debate Merits

By: Jon Hardison
By: Jon Hardison

Should the government pay construction workers more than 2 times their average wage?

Under the current prevailing wage law public projects like schools end up paying much higher wages than private projects like a house.

Union leaders and some legislators met today to discuss whether the prevailing wage concept is a good idea.

Supporters say it insures that workers have enough money to pay for health insurance and retirement when many private contractors don't cover that.

But opponents say prevailing wages are a waste of tight tax dollars that could be used to fund more schools and other buildings.

"Yes I believe in the prevailing wage very strongly. I believe a man should be able to work and make a decent livingt and also have some way of retiring, and providing insurance for his family," said union construction worker Gary Shelton.

"The state of KY is fixing to face a $625 million dollar short fall for Medicaid. We have to address state workers health insurance again, we've got teachers that are underpaid, we need new buildings. But we have to pay these prevailing wages," said State Representative Jim DeCesare (R-21st District).

Decesare says he may draft new legislation that would temporarily stop or change the prevailing wage practice.

Any such changes would have to come from the General Assembly, which reconvenes in January.

To learn more about prevailing wages, visit:

WBKO 2727 Russellville Road Bowling Green, KY 42101-3976 Phone: 270-781-1313 After Hours Hotline: 270-781-6397 Fax: 270-781-1814
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