Bill to Curb Costly State Mandate Passes Powerful Labor Committee

April 28, 2015

Boucher: This is a win for taxpayers; towns will see greater flexibility

Hartford, CT – State Senator Toni Boucher (R-Wilton) and State Senator Tony Hwang (R-Fairfield) released the following joint statement today re: passage of prevailing wage bill out of the powerful Labor Committee.

“More than ever, the people who work in Connecticut and who call our state home find themselves caught between higher property taxes on the one hand and higher business costs on the other.

“In order to change this, we need to pursue solutions which will give our towns a freer hand in allocating funds, and which allow employers to create more opportunities for individuals seeking employment.

“Connecticut’s prevailing wage statues are just one area of the many costly unfunded mandates with which our towns must comply. These laws require towns to pay a higher wage for public works projects, further constraining their budgets and leading to higher taxes for town residents.

“The current law sets the prevailing wage threshold at $400,000 for new construction projects and $100,000 for renovations. The bill which passed out of the labor committee modifies those thresholds, for both new construction and renovation, to $2 million and $1 million respectively. This would substantially reduce the number of public projects that qualify for prevailing wage.

“I thank the committee for taking such a strong stand for the taxpayers in our state. This is a win for taxpayers and towns will see greater flexibility. I am also appreciative of the close working relationship that Senator Hwang has established with the chairs of the Labor committee so that we could move this important cost saving proposal out of committee so that further negotiations can take place. Our municipalities and schools are in need of mandate relief in these still difficult budget constrained times.”

Sen. Tony Hwang, Ranking Member on the Labor Committee, said:

“I’m extremely proud of the work our Caucus has done on the Labor Committee this session, to advance legislation that helps our businesses and our municipalities. The prevailing wage bill is especially significant in that it provides meaningful relief to our local leaders to have greater control over their budgets and the costs of municipal construction projects. Connecticut’s prevailing wage law has not been modified in nearly twenty years and the changes we’re proposing, and that Sen. Boucher has been a leading voice in supporting, will bring the law in line with the financial realities of our time.”

“Our committee’s passage of this bill is truly an excellent example of the great work we can do as elected representatives when we work together in a bipartisan manner for the greater good of our communities. I’m hopeful that collaborative spirit will prevail as SB 1034 makes its way through the legislative process.”