For Immediate Release: Bill Cole Will Attend Closed Door Meeting and Push Anti-Worker Agenda

Curt Zickafoose Press Releases

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For Immediate Release:

September 10, 2015

Contact: Brittni McGuire, brittni@wvdemocrats.com, 304-342-8121

TODAY: Bill Cole Will Attend Closed Door Meeting and Push Anti-Worker Agenda

Cole’s agenda would mean lower wages across West Virginia

CHARLESTON, WV— Today, state Senator Bill Cole is scheduled to speak at a closed door meeting in Bridgeport, WV, hosted by the Business & Industry Council. Senator Cole has not been shy about his push in the next legislative session to eliminate West Virginia’s prevailing wage, or his desire to roll back long-standing protections for workers. Just last week, at the urging of his out-of-state allies, Cole endorsed the failed fiscal policies that led to massive budget deficits in Kansas.

At today’s private meeting, what new promises will Senator Cole make to his special interest backers?

“Senator Cole has made it abundantly clear he is not listening to West Virginia families and will continue to play politics with the future workers in this state,” said Brittni McGuire, a spokeswoman for the West Virginia Democratic Party. “The Senator is more concerned with making backroom promises to special interest groups that can help advance his political career, than he is with doing right by West Virginia workers. If Bill Cole had his way, workers would see wages drop and our state would face a Kansas-style budget crisis.”

Support “Outright Repeal” of Prevailing Wage Law

On 2/12/15, the Charleston Daily Mail noted that Cole “supported an outright repeal of the state’s prevailing wage law.” [Charleston Daily Mail, 2/12/15]

Study Finds Prevailing Wage Repeal would Lead to Lower Wages

In January 2015, the University of Missouri Kansas City’s economics department released a report regarding the adverse effects brought about by repealing West Virginia’s prevailing wage.

According to the January 2015 report, repealing West Virginia’s prevailing wage would lead to lower wages for all of West Virginia’s construction workers.

Specifically, the study stated that a prevailing wage repeal would “[l]ower wages for all construction workers in West Virginia (direct impact of repeal in West Virginia) and reduced incomes for other workers in industries located in West Virginia (the indirect, or induced, impact of repeal.)” [The Adverse Economic Impact from Repeal of the Prevailing Wage Law in West Virginia, January 2015]

Repeal Would Cost Between $51 and $77 Million in Lost Income

The January 15 report by the University of Missouri Kanas City noted that repealing prevailing wage would “cost the residents of West Virginia and their families between $51.30 million and $77.28 million annually in lost income.” [The Adverse Economic Impact from Repeal of the Prevailing Wage Law in West Virginia, January 2015]

Voted to Relax Coal Mine Safety Regulations

On 2/10/15, Cole voted for S.B. 357, legislation that reduced safety standards required by West Virginia state law, but not federal law.

On 2/04/15, MetroNews stated that the bill “call[ed] for a series of changes in state mine safety and environmental laws to bring them in line with federal standards. Coal industry officials say the modifications are needed because in many cases the state rules are more stringent than the federal government requires.” [S.B. 357, 2/10/15; MetroNews, 2/04/15]

Voted to Limit Company Liability in Instances of Workplace Injuries 

On 3/14/15, Cole voted for H.B. 2011, legislation aimed at decreasing liability for companies in certain instances of workplace injuries.

According to MetroNews, “The Bill seeks to redefine the legal doctrine of ‘deliberate intent’ where an employer intentionally places a workers in a hazardous working condition […] Critics worry it would insulate companies that are at fault for accidents.” [H.B. 2011, 3/14/15; Metronews, 1/21/15]

Laffer Designed Kansas’ Tax Plan that Caused $600 Million Deficit

In 2015, the Atlantic reported that economist Arthur Laffer designed the Kansas tax plan that caused a $600 state deficit in Kansas.

According to the Atlantic, “[Gov.] Brownback, who had hired the economist Arthur Laffer to help craft his original tax plan, had been touting the state’s economic recovery to argue that his fiscal vision was starting to work. But a report released Friday found that Kansas had lost nearly 4,000 jobs in May, trailing both the national trend and neighboring Missouri, which added 6,600 jobs.”

The Atlantic further stated, “Just a few days after the November election, the Kansas budget office revealed that revenue projections were off by more than $200 million, bringing the budget gap facing Brownback to $600 million in all.” [The Atlantic, 4/09/156/22/15]

Charleston Gazette-Mail: Cole Supported Laffer’s Kansas Budget Plan

On 9/03/15, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported that Cole supported Laffer’s failed Kansas budget plan.

The Gazette-Mail stated, “Senate President Bill Cole, R-Mercer, a gubernatorial candidate, lauded Laffer’s ideas….” The Gazette-Mail then quoted Cole stating. “I think [Laffer’s] spot on. I think, virtually, everything he’s said has proven itself out in history.” [Charleston Gazette-Mail, 9/03/15]