Legislators Debate Prevailing Wage Mandate

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RENO, NV - State legislators could exempt schools from paying construction workers the prevailing wage. A bill proposed by Sen. Ben Kieckhefer (R-Reno) would remove the mandate.

Prevailing wage essentially is an hourly rate, or standard rate, paid to workers doing the same tasks in a region.

Supporters say cutting costs helps more projects get built.

"It would actually be 25 percent more in buildings if we were able to pay whatever we can get," Mike Dillon of The Builders said.

"If your projects cost less, you can get more projects done, with the five-hundred-eleven million dollars in projects the district needs, we need to get as many projects done as possible," Andrea Hugh-Baird of Parent Leaders for Education said.

However, critics of the proposal say it will hurt the local economy.

"It's the wages of the skilled trades that underpin the wages in an area, if you start cutting construction wages, everybody's wages go down," Andrew Barbano editor of Nevadalabor.com said.

The bill has been introduced, and is slated to be considered by a committee.