Senate passes legislation that advances prevailing wage reform

Posted May 2, 2013 at 9:46 am

The Missouri Senate has passed House Bill 34, legislation that eliminates the prevailing wage mandate on new construction of public projects in much of outstate Missouri (3rd and 4th class counties). House Bill 34, sponsored by Rep. Casey Guernsey, withstood hours of debate in the Senate before securing passage late on April 29. The legislation now goes back to the Missouri House to approve or request a conference with the Senate to work out differences.

“The Missouri Chamber has pushed for prevailing wage reform for years, and we are pleased to finally see this reform advance, even if it is pared down to affect only outstate Missouri,” said Brendan Cossette, Missouri Chamber director of legislative affairs and assistant general counsel. “Outstate Missouri, where many of Missouri’s poorest counties are located, need this relief most.

The Missouri Chamber has a long-standing position against prevailing wage mandates and will further advocate that this practice be applied to all work in public projects in all Missouri counties.

“We believe that once lawmakers see the impact this can make in outstate Missouri, that they will agree that it is the right thing to do statewide,” said Cossette. “Prevailing wage is a product of a bygone era. The policy mandates an arbitrary level of wage-setting on public projects and is costing taxpayers far more for public projects. In some areas of the state, it could nearly double the wage level on taxpayer-funded projects compared to wages for other local construction projects.”

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry (www.mochamber.com) was founded in 1923 and is the largest business organization in Missouri, representing almost 3,000 employers, providing more than 425,000 jobs for Missourians.