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Government & Politics

Ohio Senator Wants to End Mandatory Prevailing Wage for Government Projects

photo of Sen. Matt Huffman
ANDY CHOW
/
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU
State Sen. Matt Huffman (at podium) will allow local governments to pay the market rate for government construction projects.

A state senator is proposing a bill that would give local government officials more control over what they pay construction workers on government projects. Critics say it will end up cutting wages for those workers.

Republican state Sen. Matt Huffman of Lima wants the state to stop mandating that government-funded projects use what's called prevailing wage, a uniform wage for trade and labor groups.

Instead, under Huffman’s bill, local governments could decide to use the market rate if they’d like. He says the prevailing wage inflates the cost of new buildings and capital improvements.

“The taxpayers are being represented by these individual elected officeholders and administrators and their hands are tied in terms of determining the best price because of the state mandate,” he said.

Advocates for contractors and construction workers say multiple studies have shown that getting rid of the prevailing wage won’t make projects any cheaper.