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As I See It

Lawmakers want to cut pay for some while increasing their own



It is called the prevailing wage law, and some Wisconsin lawmakers think it is time for the law to go. Prevailing wage laws require governments to pay those who secure contracts for public projects pay their workers whatever the prevailing wage is there. That is designed to ensure those companies hire skilled workers, and pay them a fair salary for their work. But some argue that inflates the price of public projects, and they have introduced legislation to end the prevailing wage law for state projects, just as they did for bids on local government building projects two years ago. This would clearly result in wage cuts for laborers, and likely would send Wisconsin workers to other states which still have the prevailing wage law to look for work. Critics of the law say ending the prevailing wage requirement could save the state hundreds of millions of dollars, but an estimate by the state’s Legislative Fiscal Bureau finds the impact of prevailing wage laws on construction costs to be inconclusive. But those legislators who want to end prevailing wage are proving to be hypocrites. These same legislators just voted to increase their per diem payments, allowing them to collect even more of our money to cover their costs of travel, dining and lodging in Madison. Apparently they think it is ok for the average Joe to see a cut in wages, while they keep increasing their own.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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