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Pa. House committee passes prevailing wage opt-out

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A bill authored by York County Republican Rep. Ron Miller that would give political subdivisions the ability to exclude themselves from prevailing wage cleared the House Labor and Industry Committee on Wednesday.

Several pieces of legislation have been circulating that would address prevailing wage. Miller's piece of the pie is House Bill 1538, which now goes before the full House.

"Millions of dollars of infrastructure needs go unmet every year because political subdivisions are forced to comply with one particularly onerous and outdated mandate, the Prevailing Wage Act," Miller said in a June memo outlining his proposal.

The 50-year-old law requires that all public bodies pay the prevailing minimum wage, as determined by the secretary of the Department of Labor and Industry, to workers on a "public works project." That is defined as any construction, repair, demolition or alteration paid for in whole, or in part, out of the funds of a public body where the total estimated cost exceeds $25,000.

The use of prevailing wage rates generally raises the cost of public works projects by 5 to 20 percent, according to Miller.

Other prevailing wage proposals would raise the threshold, modify definitions of what is included, repeal the law or establish a moratorium.

Jason Scott

Jason Scott

Jason Scott covers state government, real estate and construction, media and marketing, and Dauphin County. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at jasons@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @JScottJournal. Circle Jason Scott on .

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