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General News

Measure To Eliminate Common Construction Wage Moves Forward

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Kyle May
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https://www.flickr.com/photos/kylemay/

Leaders from Indiana’s construction industry spent more than four hours Tuesday debating a bill that would eliminate the state’s common construction wage.

The common construction wage is a sort of minimum wage for public construction projects.  It’s set for each individual project by a local wage board.

Rep. Jerry Torr, R-Carmel, authored a bill that would end the 80-year-old system.  He says the common construction wage inhibits competition and artificially inflates wages.

Torr says ending the common wage could generate savings of 10-20 percent on public construction projects.

Fort Wayne City Councilman Russ Jehl says those savings would be critical.

“The only thing that limits the quantity of work that we do are the funds to do so. As a result, without common wage, more roads will get fixed, more work will get done, and more workers will be employed to do more work,” Jehl says.

But opponents of the bill say the common construction wage provides middle class Hoosiers a living wage while ensuring a higher level of quality, training and safety.

The committee approved the bill 8-4 along party lines. The measure now heads to the full House.