PRESS RELEASE: Prevailing-Wage Reform Bill Gives Taxpayers More Bang for Their Buck

Published February 28, 2017

A new bill introduced in Ohio would give more freedom to local governments, enabling them to save taxpayer money by contracting with companies of their choosing rather than being forced to hire only companies that pay wages mandated by the state.

The following statement from Jesse Hathaway, a research fellow and budget/tax expert at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact New Media Specialist Billy Aouste at [email protected] and 312/377-4000 or (cell) 847/877-9100.

“On February 28, Ohio state Sen. Matt Huffman (R-Lima) proposed removing restrictions on how local governments may partner with private businesses on capital infrastructure projects. Senate Bill 72 would allow city governments to opt out of the state’s prevailing wage law when contracting with private businesses to build capital infrastructure with taxpayer money.

“Instead of allowing governments to work with contractors to negotiate the price of construction, prevailing-wage laws require government agencies to mandate the pay and benefits given to workers on projects such as construction or repair, often using inaccurate statistics unrepresentative.

“Ohio’s prevailing-wage law artificially inflates the price of building or repairing government capital, costing taxpayers more money without providing additional value or safety. Huffman’s bill, if enacted, would allow local governments more flexibility when partnering with privately owned businesses, giving lawmakers a tool to help save taxpayer money, if they decide to do.

“Ohio lawmakers should follow the example set by lawmakers in Kentucky–a state in which prevailing-wage reform was recently approved and signed into law–and actively seek pro-taxpayer reforms, such as those contained in Huffman’s bill.”

Jesse Hathaway
Research Fellow, Budget and Tax Policy
The Heartland Institute
Managing Editor, Budget & Tax News
[email protected]

The Heartland Institute is a 33-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.