DE Lawmakers Eye Changes To State's 'Prevailing Wage' - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

DE Lawmakers Eye Changes To State's 'Prevailing Wage'

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DELAWARE - Lawmakers discussed two proposals to reform state spending on public projects today.

According to reports, both bills (House Bill 6) would make changes to the Delaware's "prevailing wage" system, which sets base hourly wages for skilled and unskilled workers on state-funded projects.  The wages are reportedly based on a voluntary survey conducted by the state Department of Labor (DOL) and vary by county, occupation and type of project.  Officials say all projects using state funding are mandated to pay the government-set wages.

Critics reportedly argue that the current process often results in the setting of wages well above market conditions, and Delaware's flawed method adds 20-percent to 30-percent to the cost of a public project.

The first bill would reportedly eliminate the state survey system, and instead, the measure calls for the state to use the data already gathered by the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The second proposal discussed today would reportedly update prevailing wage thresholds for the first time in at least 20 years.  According to reports, currently, new state-funded construction projects in excess of $100,000, and renovation projects above $15,000, are subject to the prevailing wage law.  The measure would reportedly raise those thresholds to $350,000 and $100,000, respectively.

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