(Victor Joecks, Las Vegas Review-Journal) – If they weren’t spending our money, it’d be hilarious to watch legislative Democrats argue that paying higher prices is a cost-savings measure.
It’s like telling your broke cousin the key to saving money is buying name brands, not generics.
Yet there was Assemblyman Chris Brooks, D-Las Vegas, on Wednesday making that argument. He’s the sponsor of AB154, which would require schools to pay full prevailing-wage rates, which are usually inflated union-wage rates, for construction projects.
A study from my old colleagues at the Nevada Policy Research Institute found that in Nevada prevailing-wage rates are around 45 percent higher than market wages. In just 2009 and 2010, the prevailing wage cost Nevada taxpayers almost $1 billion.
Early in the 2015 legislative session, Republicans repealed the requirement that schools pay prevailing-wage rates in combination with a constitutionally dubious 10-year authorization for new bonding. In a colossal capitulation to Democrats, Republican leaders from Gov. Brian Sandoval to then-Senate Majority Leader Michael Roberson to then-Assembly Majority Leader Paul Anderson pushed through a bill in the waning moments of the 2015 session that forced schools to pay 90 percent of the prevailing wage.