An Indiana House committee has approved a bill that would repeal a state law setting wages on public construction projects. Indiana Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer Kevin Brinegar calls common wage a “relic of the 1930s” and says it is “costly and unfair” to Hoosier businesses. Goshen-based Reith-Riley Construction Co. Inc. President Keith Rose spoke out against the bill, saying the repeal would decrease the quality, safety and wages of public projects. Reith-Riley Construction Co. Inc. President Keith Rose says the state will hurt local businesses by rushing to judgment on common wage. You can hear a portion of his testimony by clicking here.

The bill passed the House Committee on Employment, Labor and Pensions by a vote of 8-4. It now moves onto the full House.

Supporters say studies in other states show savings of up to 20 percent on public projects in which contractors do not have to pay union-scale wages. They say that would allow local government funding to stretch farther and more projects to be completed.

Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson was among those testifying against the repeal. In her testimony, she said any measure with the potential to lower wages would be devastating to Indiana communities.

The bill was authored by Representative Jerry Torr (R-39).

You can read the full bill by clicking here.

Source: Inside INdiana Business

February 17, 2015

News Release

Indianapolis, Ind. — Indiana Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kevin Brinegar on the decision of House Republicans to pursue House Bill 1019, which would repeal the state’s common construction wage statute. The bill passed the House Employment, Labor and Pensions Committee early this afternoon:

“The Indiana Chamber of Commerce, although surprised to learn of the addition of this issue to the 2015 legislative agenda, has been a strong supporter of this common sense reform for decades. In a year in which a new two-year state budget will be adopted, actions that help provide additional taxpayer protections are particularly important.

“Repealing the common construction wage removes government-mandated pay scales and restores fair and open competition to public construction projects. With local governments and schools facing increasing financial pressures, projected taxpayer savings of between 10% and 20% per project are welcome news.

“The arbitrary common construction wage process prevents accountability on taxpayer-funded projects and often precludes local contractors from bidding for local work. Other states that do not have a common construction wage law have realized demonstrated cost savings, while maintaining the high-quality work delivered throughout the construction industry.”

The Indiana Chamber partners with 17,000 members and investors – representing three million Hoosiers – to achieve the mission of “cultivating a world-class environment which provides economic opportunity and prosperity.”

Source: Indiana Chamber of Commerce

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