If you are a construction worker in the 37th House District, your state representative, Kristina Roegner, thinks you make too much money.
Under the cloak of "free market" principles, Roegner claims that prevailing wage is a "bureaucratic" mandate that forces taxpayers to overspend on construction. She is incorrect. Prevailing wages are market wages set by local standards and competitive practices.
In her latest attempt to attack the earnings of blue collar workers, Roegner ignored the fact that almost 80 percent of peer-reviewed research finds prevailing wage requirements do not increase the cost of a construction project. In fact, the study she cites has been completely debunked by Professor Herbert Weisberg of The Ohio State University, who found no savings from repeal of prevailing wage on school construction. In an interview with the Columbus Dispatch, former LSC Director James Burley did not dispute Weisberg's findings.
Choosing to disregard Weisberg's findings, and the overabundance of research against her position, Roegner suggests the "ideal" solution would be repeal of the law.
According to a recently published study by professors from Kent State, Bowling Green, and Colorado State University, prevailing wage repeal would push 16,000 Ohio construction workers below the poverty line, qualifying them for food stamps and Earned Income Tax Credit government benefits.
Additionally, Roegner's "ideal" outcome would use more of your tax dollars to employ out-of-state contractors, many of whom utilize undocumented workers. According to the study, Roegner's "ideal" outcome would result in construction workers' incomes being lowered 16%.
Citing baseless arguments of increased costs and lower competition, Roegner has introduced HB 163 in another attempt to gut the prevailing wage law. Roegner has repeatedly introduced bills that demonstrate disdain for blue-collar workers, and HB163 is no different. Passage of her bill to eviscerate prevailing wage would prove disastrous for Ohio's construction industry.
Matthew A. Szollosi, Executive Director, ACT Ohio