Area legislator files prevailing wage exemption bill for public schools, local governments

By Jason Beets, Staff Writer

A local representative has proposed two bills that would exempt public agencies, including school districts, cities and counties, from a state requirement that they pay prevailing wages for certain projects. Rep. Joe Don McGaugh (R-Carrollton) said his bills would benefit schools, counties and local taxpayers.

Under Missouri law, any institution supported by public funds must pay the prevailing wage for the construction of public works, based on the wages for such work in the local area. The Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations determines prevailing wage rates based on information from contractors, public bodies, labor organizations and other entities.

The first bill, House Bill 78, would allow any public body, including state agencies, cities and counties, to opt out of paying the prevailing wage for contracts worth $750,000 or less.

The second bill, HB 79, would allow board members to exempt a school district from the requirement to pay the prevailing wage for the construction of public works.

McGaugh said it is often difficult for the counties in his district to pay prevailing wages.

“Whenever they have a project, it really blows a hole in the budget,” he said. “The only way counties could recoup that is to raise taxes.”

McGaugh said his proposals would allow counties and school boards to make the right financial decisions for themselves and the taxpayers of their jurisdictions.

The complete story is in the Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017 Richmond News.

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