For Immediate Release: New Rates Won’t Stop Cole From Eliminating Prevailing Wage

Curt Zickafoose Press Releases

For Immediate Release:

September 30, 2015

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

New Rates Won’t Stop Cole From Eliminating Prevailing Wage

Bill Cole’s political games hurt WV workers

CHARLESTON, WV— Today, new prevailing wage rates were released by WorkForce West Virginia. The completion of the study means the prevailing wage is back for West Virginia workers, but it won’t be for long if Senate President Bill Cole has his way. Cole and his Senate leadership team don’t care about better data, they are on a warpath to slash wages  because they think construction workers make too much money.

Bill Cole was never interested in this new wage data because his top priority in Charleston is to end prevailing wage altogether, ultimately cutting wages and benefits for West Virginia workers. Cole won’t give the new rates a chance to work, because it doesn’t fit his political agenda.

“Senator Cole has tried to use this study to mask his true end game: cut wages for the working people of West Virginia,” said Brittni McGuire, a spokeswoman for the West Virginia Democratic Party. “Now that there is more accurate wage data available, Bill Cole cannot hide the fact that he thinks construction workers are over-paid for the work they do. It’s time for Bill Cole to stop playing politics with the paychecks of hard-working West Virginians.”

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Cole Supported “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]

Cole Asserted that Repeal of Prevailing Wage Law would Save $500 Million

On 2/23/14, the Bluefield Daily Telegraph quoted Cole asserting that the state would save $500 billion by repealing the prevailing wage law.

Cole stated, “[It] would save the state up to $500 million next year […] Taxpayers out to be livid about throwing away that kind of money. It deserves consideration.” [Bluefield Daily Telegraph, 2/23/14]

Repeal Would Lead to Lower Wages “for All Construction Workers”

According to the January 2015 report by the University of Missouri Kansas City, 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.)”

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

The January 15 report by the University of Missouri Kansas 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.”

Repeal would Reduce Health and Pension Benefits for Construction Workers

According to the January 2015 report by the University of Missouri Kansas City, repealing West Virginia’s prevailing wage would reduce health and pension benefits currently available to West Virginian construction workers.

Specifically, the study stated that repeal would result in “Reduced health and pension benefits for construction workers in West Virginia (and, as a result, probability of entual increased costs to state and local communities).”

Repeal would Reduce Sales and Income Tax Revenue Collected

According to the January 2015 report by the University of Missouri Kansas City, repealing West Virginia’s prevailing wage would reduce sales tax revenue collected by West Virginia.

The study stated the repealing the West Virginia minimum wage would reduce “sales tax revenues to the State of West Virginia and regional economies in West Virginia” and reduce “income tax revenues to the State of West Virginia and regional economies in West Virginia.”