IACT Staying Neutral In Common Construction Wage Debate

Mar 2, 2015

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

Supporters of the move to repeal Indiana‘s common construction wage say it would save cities and schools money as they try to squeeze building projects into their budgets.

But local governments are divided on whether repeal is a good idea.

Indiana Association of Cities and Towns executive director Matt Greller says IACT‘s informal survey of its members found them split almost evenly.

"There's a slight majority in favor of keeping the common construction wage law as is," says Greller. "However, it's a very localized, probably a very personal decision, and we certainly have folks on both sides."

He says the issue crosses party lines, with mayors from union-heavy cities tending to oppose repeal regardless of party.

Greller says IACT isn‘t taking a position on the bill because of the division among its members.

South Bend has taken its opposition a step further.

The city‘s Board of Works voted last week to continue to pay the prevailing wage regardless of what the legislature does.

Democratic Mayor Pete Buttigieg says he might consider supporting the bill if its claims of cost savings of 10-to-20-percent held up -- but he says studies have shown they don‘t.

And Buttigieg maintains the prevailing wage law still serves its original purpose of ensuring government‘s purchasing power doesn‘t depress wages.