November 3, 2017 (Lansing) – The state’s leading small business organization, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), praised the submission today of petition signatures to repeal Michigan’s Prevailing Wage Law. The signatures were submitted to the Bureau of Elections today by Protecting Michigan Taxpayers (PMT) the group that conducted the petition drive to collect the required 252,523 signatures for the citizen initiated legislation. The group indicated that they had collected much more than the required number of signatures to avoid any problems with mistakes or duplicate signatures that often occur in ballot petition drives.
If the signatures and the proposal are approved by the Board of Canvassers then it will be introduced into the state legislature as a proposed law. The state Senate and House then have 40 days to act on the proposal. If they pass the proposal it becomes law. If the proposal fails to pass or the legislature does not act on the proposal within the 40 days, then it goes on the November 2018 statewide ballot for a vote of the people. However, Owens made it clear that this is an issue that should be acted on immediately by the legislature.
“Michigan’s antiquated prevailing wage law results in overcharging taxpayers on publicly funded construction projects by requiring that union scale wages be paid regardless of whether a contractor has non-union employees,” said NFIB State Director Charlie Owens. “Estimates of the additional cost to taxpayers ranges from 10 to 15 percent on a project”.
Owens said that repealing 1965 law is an important step in assuring fair and open competition on publicly funded construction projects. “The state’s current prevailing wage law arbitrarily sets wages much higher than local construction wages determined by fair competition in the free market”, said Owens. “This law also discourages small business contractors from bidding on public projects because of union intimidation and this also drives up project costs”.
“Lawmakers need to step up now and show leadership and courage in addressing this protectionist labor union sacred cow that is cheating taxpayers out of hundreds of millions of dollars every year,” said Owens.