House Bill 1329: Moving the Clock Forward on Pennsylvania’s Prevailing Wage Law
Pennsylvania’s current prevailing wage law artificially inflates the cost of public works projects, substantially increasing the economic burden on all Pennsylvania taxpayers.
House Bill 1329, currently before the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, relieves mandates for municipalities, school districts and counties. Fully evaluating the merits of House Bill 1329 requires reviewing the history of prevailing wage in Pennsylvania and the facts about this bill.
Prevailing wage became Pennsylvania law for public works projects in 1961. In 1963 it was recognized that certain projects should be exempt from the bureaucracy of prevailing wage bidding and the threshold for exemption was established at $25,000.
The rationale for House Bill 1329 is that projects exempt from this unfunded mandate in 1963 should still be exempt in 2012. This is commonsense reform realizing that projects of similar scope and size cannot be constructed in 2012 for the same cost as they were in 1963.
House Bill 1329 recognizes this fact and adjusts the threshold for exemption from prevailing wage bidding. The new threshold would be adjusted to $185,000 and include an annual index to keep the threshold current with the cost of construction. It is important to understand items not included in this legislation. House Bill 1329 does not limit rates paid to workers or exclude any contractor currently qualified to bid on public works projects from continuing to submit bids.
House Bill 1329 is strongly supported by the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors, Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs, Pennsylvania School Boards Association, and other local government organizations.
House Bill 1329 is a common sense reform designed to modernize the archaic Prevailing Wage threshold and eliminate unnecessary costs to Pennsylvania taxpayers.
State Representative Fred Keller
85th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Ty McCauslin