July 7, 2015
Repeal of Prevailing Wage is Real Money Savings
Over the past few weeks I have been cautiously optimistic, working diligently behind the scenes regarding transportation funding and prevailing wage reform. A few weeks ago, I submitted a budget motion suggesting that the DOT go back to the days of maintaining our roads instead of adding frills to projects such as extra beautification measures, closed circuit cameras, overhead message boards and highway on-ramp gates. Unfortunately, this motion was rejected. I have also been a strong supporter of the Governor's budgetary removal of the "complete streets" mandate, requiring a one-size-fits-all approach to highway projects. This requirement would have forced the villages of St. Cloud and Campbellsport to install bicycle lanes through town, eliminating half of the available parking during road improvements.
These issues aside, prevailing wage reform provides a real solution to a real funding problem. The state has kicked the can on transportation funding for over a decade and yet, we continue to borrow and spend. Responsible citizens must live within their means. As a legislator, I demand that we budget within our means as a state. At times, this may require bold reforms. Some legislators have requested increases in revenue sources to fix the problem, including gas tax increases and higher registration fees. These revenue “uppers” are not in my playbook - at least not when we have before us a real solution with real savings. The elimination of the state’s prevailing wage law would remove artificial state intervention on public works projects, allowing smaller contractors to bid on projects, give schools with building referendums (such as Campbellsport) real savings and provide our counties and municipalities with long-overdue relief on local road projects.
These savings are real and will positively impact our state. I pray that we see these savings implemented through the state budget this week.
Rep. Jesse Kremer