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Government Overcharging Itself for Labor
Because you have the votes?

Oregon is one of 29 states that has a prevailing wage law requiring that state and local governments pay a higher amount to workers on public projects than market-based wages. While these laws have the effect of raising wages of workers, they also make government more expensive and in some cases make public projects impossible.

SB 493, introduced by Senators Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego) and Kathleen Taylor (D-Portland) is a proposal to make significant changes in how the wage is calculated. Currently, the employment department does a survey of relevant wages and presents them to the Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries who decides what the wage will be.

Now, SB 493 proposes that the prevailing wage be the highest wage on any collective bargaining agreement -- a move which will surely drive up most wages.

What will be the final effect? Many projects simply will not be undertaken. Projects that will be undertaken will be only the most necessary infrastructure projects, while leaving behind some of the less-necessary but more glamorous parks, paths and pools.

Representative Daniel Bonham (R-The Dalles) led a Republican revolt against the bill. In his floor speech, he pondered, "Why are we doing this now? Why is this the right time? Because you have the votes?"

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-05-23 10:16:31Last Update: 2021-05-22 16:33:41

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