A recent study by Department of Economics at the University of Missouri – Kansas City demonstrates the incredible economic impact and benefit of the Prevailing Wage, specifically in Missouri. Here at Fired Up!, we've covered the previous attacks on Missouri's prevailing wage by republicans in state government. From Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder's failed attempt to even find a second for his motion to eliminate the prevailing wage requirements for the rebuilding of low-income residential housing in Joplin at a hearing in mid December at MHDC to republican legislators such as Rep. Shane Schoeller (R-Willard), Rep. Bill White (R-Joplin), Rep. Mike Kelley (R-Lamar), Rep. Rodney Schad (R-Versailles) and Rep. Charlie Davis (R-Webb City) who have all agreed to sponsor or cosponsor a suspension or elimination of the prevailing wage - even though they come from communities which have been heavily damaged by tornados and which need the sustained investment in order to rebuild and recover we've shown that republicans are willing to put profits over people.
We already know the benefits of the prevailing wage in ensuring that laborers receive a fair day's pay for a fair day's work andallowing skilled workers to receive fair compensation. But that's not all. Workers who benefit from a prevailing wage also don't rely as heavily on public assistance as those who do not benefit from a prevailing wage, which ultimately means less pressure on taxpayers because the workers can can afford health care and other needs. Laborers who receive a prevailing wage also demonstrate a 16.2% higher level of productivity in comparision to non-prevailing wage states.
Let's also put to bed the notion pushed by republicans that it's more expensive to build in states with a prevailing wage. When it comes to building schools, it's actually MORE expensive to build in a non-prevailing wage state than it is to build in Missouri. Get that? In states where there are no prevailing wage protections for workers, it is more expensive to build a secondary school.
Before Missouri republicans again consider the idea of suspending or eliminating the prevailing wage laws which protect workers, let's also look at what might happen if they were successful:
• Repeal would cost Missouri residents between $300 and $452 million annually in lost wages;
• Repeal would cost Missouri between $5.8 and $8.7 million annually in lost sales taxes;
• Repeal would cost Missouri between $18 and $27 million annually in lost income tax revenues;
• Repeal would create a total economic loss to the state of between $324 and $488 million annually, $134-$204 million of that in the St. Louis area.
Simply put, Missouri can't afford to repeal the prevailing wage. Given that we are facing a budget crisis, the idea of further reducing revenues and losing incredible economic activity across the state is a nightmare.
For more information, visit our friends at the Labor Tribune.