Rep. Linda Belcher pre-files bill to restore prevailing wage for publicly funded projects

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Kentucky State AFL-CIO endorsed Rep. Belcher (D-Shepherdsville) for reelection. She represents House District 49, which ecompasses part of Bullitt County. 

FRANKFORT – Looking to restore a decades-old law that better ensured quality construction of public-works projects and fairer pay for those who built them, state Rep. Linda Belcher pre-filed legislation today that would re-establish Kentucky’s prevailing-wage law.

“For nearly 80 years, this law served Kentucky taxpayers well because it played a critical role in making sure our schools, courthouses, roads, bridges and other public facilities were built to last,” said Rep. Belcher of Shepherdsville.  “At the same time, prevailing wage also kept labor costs from spiraling down due to construction jobs being outsourced to those with less training.  Since the General Assembly repealed prevailing wage last year, I’ve heard story after story about the devastating impact this one action has had on many families.  Just as the federal government requires prevailing wage for its projects – and has since 1931 – it is time for Kentucky to again do the same.”

Rep. Belcher’s bill, which will be considered during the 2019 legislative session, would restore the law as it was before the legislature’s actions in 2017.  In short, it would apply to any project costing at least $250,000 that is built by state or local government or a school district.

Rep. Belcher noted that studies showing a cost-savings from repealing the prevailing wage are often over-inflated and do not take into account such things as additional maintenance costs, lower overall salaries for construction workers and the increased need for public assistance for many of those workers.

“The prevailing wage is nothing more than a requirement that those authorizing local and state government projects pay the same salary for the same type of work being done in the area,” Rep. Belcher added.  “This one move boosts our local economy and has been shown to help all construction workers, even if they are not involved in public-works projects at all.  I’m proud to file this legislation and will work hard to get it passed into law.”