Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

Kasich-O-Meter

Eliminate prevailing wage rules on public construction projects


"I've never been for prevailing wage because it drives up the cost"

Updates

Budget passed by House would greatly expand exemptions from wage requirements

A party-line vote in the Ohio House had an impact on several promises Gov. John Kasich made during his campaign, including his pledge on prevailing wage rules.

Kasich often talks of the need to make government more efficient and less costly to ensure taxpayers get the best use of their buck and make Ohio more business friendly.

Toward that end, Kasich promised to eliminate rules that required payment of prevailing wages on public contracts.
   
"I've never been for prevailing wage because it drives up the cost, " he told The Columbus Dispatch in an interview in September 2010.
   
On May 5 the House approved a state budget for the next two years by a 59-to-40 vote. A provision in the bill expanded the exemption to the state's prevailing wage law. New construction projects under $3.5 million would now be exempt. Currently, only projects under $79,000 could avoid paying the union-negotiated rate on new construction projects.

Democrats howled about the provision. Rep. Matt Szollosi from the Toledo-area called the change "outrageous" and noted that 30 of 34 states with prevailing wage laws have exemption thresholds under $100,000.

"How can this be justified?" he asked. "This change is not going to save the state money."

But the provision, along with the rest of the budget plan, now is pending in the Senate, where hearings are underway.

Earlier this year, the Ohio School Facilities Commission, which oversees school construction projects, got the ball rolling on this promise when it stripped school districts of the authority to require contractors to pay union-scale wages or to require the use of union workers through project labor agreements.

Based on that action we set the Kasich-O-Meter for this promise at In the Works. We"ll leave it there for now, but the budget vote in the House does edge it closer to completion.

Sources:

The Columbus Dispatch, "Points of division: Jobs dominate, but 'hot button' issues remain important in governor's race," Sept. 26, 2010
    
The Plain Dealer, "State panel, under Ohio Gov. John Kasich's direction, prohibits school districts from requiring union-scale wages on construction projects,” Feb. 25, 2011
 
The Plain Dealer, "Divided Ohio House passes budget full of cuts on heels of rosy revenue news,” May 6, 2011

Prevailing wage rules dropped for school construction contracts

It"s no secret that John Kasich is not a fan of public unions.

As a candidate, he would note that he grew up in a blue-collar household. But he also made no bones about his desire to overhaul the 1983 law that gave public employees in Ohio the right to bargain collectively, seek arbitration and, for non safety forces, to strike.

And he also pledged to eliminate rules that required payment of prevailing wages on public contracts.

"I've never been for prevailing wage because it drives up the cost, " he told The Columbus Dispatch in an interview in September 2010.

The prevailing wage issue is one that separated Kasich from then-Gov. Ted Strickland. It was Strickland who instituted the rule that prevailing wages be paid on state funded contracts after his election in 2006.

In February, the Ohio School Facilities Commission, which oversees school construction,  stripped school districts of the authority to require contractors to pay union-scale wages or to require the use of union workers through project labor agreements.

Tim Keen, the commission"s chairman and Kasich"s budget director, said the change will reduce construction costs.  

"This returns us to the environment that the commission operated in for 10 years, from its inception until 2007.” Keen said.

Based on that commission"s action, we move the Kasich-O- Meter for this promise to In the Works.

 

Sources:


The Columbus Dispatch, "Points of division: Jobs dominate, but 'hot button' issues remain important in governor's race," Sept. 26, 2010

The Plain Dealer, "State panel, under Ohio Gov. John Kasich's direction, prohibits school districts from requiring union-scale wages on construction projects,” Feb. 25, 2011