Recall an attempt made by the Ohio House to expand PW by amending a COVID-19 funding bill for local governments. ABC of Ohio helped successfully defeat this effort when the bill was debated in the Ohio Senate, despite repeated efforts to push it through.
House Republican leaders tried again, adding an amendment to Senate Bill 4 during session that included the same PW expansion language. This time is passed and now awaits Governor DeWine’s signature. We ask that our members take action and contact firstname.lastname@example.org in Governor DeWine’s office with the following message:
The prevailing wage exemption for Transportation Improvement Districts is not a loophole in the law. Removing it represents an EXPANSION of prevailing wage at a time Ohio can ill afford it.
ABC of Ohio is not the only organization that opposes the expansion. Former Congressman Pat Tiberi, his Ohio Business Roundtable, the Buckeye Institute and NFIB have spoken out publicly against the unfunded mandate. They oppose the significant cost increase to local governments in the midst of a pandemic and severe economic distress. Additional individuals, organizations and associations would also oppose this if allowed to testify publicly on legislation introduced and heard through the appropriate process.
A little history: The prevailing wage exemption for Transportation Improvement Districts (TIDs) was intentionally added to the law by Republican legislators in 1997. Why would they pass exemptions to prevailing wage?
· To save taxpayer money.
· Lower local government road construction costs.
· Promote Republican values of smaller, more efficient government.
· Promote economic development through more affordable infrastructure projects.
· Support small and minority owned businesses.
To be clear, the existing TID exemption from prevailing wage mandates was not an accident, a “loophole” or poorly crafted legislative language. Governor Voinovich and the legislature knew the TID prevailing wage exemption would lower costs and increase local government infrastructure improvements. This in turn would stimulate greater economic activity.
The prevailing wage expansion deserves your line item veto because:
1. Its inclusion as an unrelated floor amendment to SB 4 violates the single subject rule of the Ohio Constitution and will likely delay government construction funding because of potential lawsuits.
2. Prevailing wage was created to intentionally prevent racial integration of public construction projects. That impact continues today.Your line item veto would be a stand against this kind of discriminatory policy.
3. The hurried argument used to justify its passage is false. The TID exemption from the prevailing wage mandate is not a loophole, it was intentional policy passed by a Republican-led legislature.
4. Eliminating the TID prevailing wage exemption will increase costs of local government projects on the backs of taxpayers at a time when we can ill afford the increase during a pandemic and major economic downturn.
5. Since the inception of the prevailing wage law 89 years ago, the trend—particularly in the last two decades—has been to scale back the applicability of prevailing wage. Amended SB 4 represents an unprecedented expansion of prevailing wage, and neither you nor the Republican legislators campaigned on the promise of that expansion.
6. A veto of this provision would continue to give local governments the permissive option, but if you sign it, you mandate ALL local governments to spend more.