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House Approves Elimination Of Common Construction Wage

Kyle May

House lawmakers Monday voted to eliminate Indiana’s common construction wage, a kind of minimum wage for public construction projects. 

The common construction wage, a decades old practice in Indiana, is set by local wage boards for each individual public construction project.  Kokomo Republican Representative Mike Karickhoff, an Ivy Tech official and former parks superintendent, says he’s sat on some of those local wage boards in his career.  He’s opposed to repealing the common construction wage, an issue he says is about local control.

“Either we’re going to entrust our local officials to decide who does the business and what that labor rate is going to be paid, or who does not," says Karickhoff.

But Carmel Republican Jerry Torr, the bill’s author, says the common construction wage represents unnecessary costs to taxpayers.

“It costs taxpayers money just to have the wage hearings," says Torr. "It also costs the taxpayers money by this five-member panel setting an artificial minimum wage.”

The bill passed 55 to 41, with 13 Republicans joining Democrats in opposition.  It now heads to the Senate.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.
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