Monday, June 22, 2009

Exempt School Construction From Prevailing Wage

Dilapidated schools in Kentucky may get funds for repair and new construction from the Special Session, now that the House has passed H.B. 2, which would provide $1.3 billion for education facilities.

The Kentucky Opportunity Coalition is correct to demand that school construction be exempted from the prevailing wage. Whatever amount of money is ultimately appropriated to school facilities, repeal of the prevailing wage will allow that amount to go ten percent further.

In a press release today, the Coalition chair Kristin Webb Hill noted

The Kentucky Legislative Research Commission (LRC) has reported that the wage portion of prevailing wage projects is more than 20% higher than if area market-based wages were utilized. That translates into an estimated 10% of total project costs that are underutilized due to the prevailing wage requirement.

"If we are going to make the commitment, let's maximize our investment dollar," Hill added. "Instead of potentially directing nearly $130 million toward artificially inflated wages, let's invest that money in the next generation of Kentucky's minds.

I don't see an extra $130 million laying around for politicians in Frankfort to squander. Let's do right by those Kentucky children who are forced to attend schools so run down that they should be condemned and repeal the prevailing wage. That will ensure that whatever money Frankfort can dedicate to school construction does not get wasted.

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