Riedel, Manchester introduce permissive prevailing wage bill

COLUMBUS — State Reps. Craig S. Riedel, R-Defiance, and Susan Manchester, R-Waynesfield, recently introduced House Bill 78 in the Ohio House of Representatives.

This legislation would allow political subdivisions, special districts, and state institutions of higher education the choice to apply the prevailing wage law to public improvement projects. While prevailing wage law—the requirement to pay labor workers the wage and benefits of the area in which they are working—benefits many parties, it often drives up the cost of local capital projects.

“Rep. Manchester and I introduced this bill because we believe in free and open competitive markets,” Riedel said. “This bill does not eliminate prevailing wage, but rather makes it permissive. It gives local government entities the ability to decide for themselves whether they want to use prevailing wage on a job by job basis.”

House Bill 78 allows local decision-makers the option of whether or not to participate in prevailing wage. Under current law, prevailing wage mandates begin at $250,000 for local capital projects. In many cases, this causes communities to suffer from additional costs to either the taxpayer or the failure of project completions due to these increased costs. HB 78 increases the threshold for new construction projects from $250,000 to $500,000 with the intent to capture many new construction projects and eliminate these restrictions.

“This common sense piece of legislation restores local control by freeing local governments from the burden of a state mandated wage. HB 78 will provide them the flexibility they need to get the greatest return for every tax dollar,” Riedel added.

“I am proud to sponsor this bill with Rep. Riedel. House Bill 78 empowers local governments to make the best decisions for their communities while protecting taxpayer dollars and pursuing free markets.” Manchester said. “Local control is a hallmark of good government and I am glad to support this legislation.”

HB 78 now awaits a committee designation.