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Senate Panel Votes To Scrap Prevailing Wage In Michigan

A state Senate committee has adopted a Republican proposal to scrap prevailing union wage requirements on publicly funded construction projects. The bills now go to the Senate floor.

There was a lot of give and take in the committee hearing on whether prevailing wage rules add to the costs of construction projects.

State Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive) has championed the legislation. 

“We have an opportunity to save taxpayers’ dollars and it is an opportunity that we’re taking,” he told the Senate Michigan Competitiveness Committee.

But other say scrapping the rules would encourage artificially low bids that wind up costing more.

Ed Haynor is on the board of the Newaygo County intermediate school district. He says the lowest bid does not necessarily mean the lowest cost once a project is completed.

“Typically, you see more change orders with low-bid contractors because they on-purposely low bid to get the job, and then afterwards they’ll add back on to improve their profit margin,” he testified.

Rick Pluta is the managing editor for the Michigan Public Radio Network.