Prevailing Wage Rates

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It’s Not The Tax That Is the Problem, It Is The Costs

Legislature should examine cost of infrastructure improvements, including prevailing wage, before raising taxes

October 6, 2016

Mount Laurel, NJ - “The New Jersey Chapter of Associated Builders & Contractors is pleased that the legislature wants to invest in our aging infrastructure. These are public roads and buildings and as such they the invest needs to come from public funds.

However, the proposed passage of a regressive $.23 increase in the gas tax is emblematic of all that is wrong with Trenton funding formulas.   Mismanagement and raiding of funds leads to crisis situations, and the burden routinely gets dumped back onto the middle class in the form of tax increases. If New Jersey could find a way to not have the most expensive per lane cost of road construction for example, it would be a good start. Future infrastructure work must be built without using an overly expensive prevailing wage schedule and certainly without discriminatory Project Labor Agreements (PLA’s). 

PLA’s are discriminatory agreements that typically propose “cost savings” and mandate that workers come from union hall. As you can imagine, with this caveat, merit shop, or non-union contractors, whose workers make up 75% of the construction workforce, won’t bid jobs with PLA’s.  Regrettably, PLA’s drive up the cost of construction by restricting efficiencies and stifling competition. The last study conducted in New Jersey by the Department of Labor found that projects with a Project Labor Agreement attached increased costs by 30.5% compared to non-PLA projects.

It’s long overdue that our Legislature become better stewards of the taxpayer investment.  Instead of adding hundreds of dollars in taxes to each middle class resident, let’s try reducing cost and more efficiently managing tax payer dollars.”    

The Associated Builders and Contractors, New Jersey Chapter’s mission is to be the voice of the Merit Shop and Free Enterprise in New Jersey’s construction industry. ABC has over 21,000 members nationally.  

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