MACo: School Construction Prevailing Wage Is Not One-Size-Fits-All

MACo’s Research Director, Robin Clark Eilenberg, submitted testimony to the Senate Finance Committee in support of SB 40 – Procurement – Prevailing Wage – Modifications.

This bill would allow some added flexibility from the State’s mandate to apply State prevailing wage laws and regulations to any public school construction project that receives even 25% of its funding from the State. SB 40 reinstates a more balanced approach to the too-uniform prevailing wage law for public schools.

From MACo’s testimony:

The modifications to the State’s prevailing wage law, as set forth in SB 40, would balance the State’s school construction needs and goals with other policy interests. Along with a few other changes, this legislation would raise the threshold for prevailing wage back to the same applied to other capital projects. This would align prevailing wage practices with the practice that empowers the party providing the majority of the funding with certain management and oversight controls.

Other bill provisions sensibly recognize that the cost of living is not uniform across the state, and allow that recognition to better inform the application of prevailing wage to public projects.

Since 2014, counties have delayed the renovation of aging schools and the construction of schools needed to accommodate growing student populations. A return to the standard for application of State prevailing wage laws to projects funded with a majority of State funding could speed progress toward State and local school construction goals.

For more on 2019 MACo legislation, visit the Legislative Database.