Unified Government Mayor Joe Reardon is opposing House Bill 2069 in the Kansas Legislature. The bill would prohibit the Unified Government or any other local government from requiring prevailing wage be paid to workers building economic development and public works projects.
Mayor Reardon issued the following statement in opposition to House Bill 2069:
“The Unified Government adopted our prevailing wage and supplier diversity policies as local initiatives. The prevailing wage and supplier diversity requirements fit the nature of our community and are supported by our citizens. They have encouraged economic success, not hurt it. The Unified Government has been recognized as one of the most business friendly local governments in the Kansas City region by Ingram’s Business magazine. There was $600-million in commercial development in Kansas City, Kansas from 2010-2012. We strongly believe that these policy decisions are best made on the local level and not at the State level.”
The Unified Government testified in opposition to House Bill 2069 in the House Commerce Committee. The committee and the association promoting the bill agreed to remove the ban on prevailing wage. But the prevailing wage ban was put back in the bill by the Senate Commerce committee.
House Bill 2069 will undermine the extremely successful approach to economic development which has transformed Wyandotte County into a regional tourism and manufacturing center, creating thousands of good paying jobs and promoting small local, minority and women owned businesses. Use of prevailing wage on economic development projects and public works projects is supported by several major construction companies as well as trade and labor organizations.
The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics shows employment in Wyandotte County increased 4% from March 2011 to March 2012. The sharp rise in the number of people going to work puts Wyandotte County number 19th in the nation and 1st in the Kansas City metro for job growth. And during the heart of the Great Recession, the Association of General Contractors ranked Wyandotte County third in the nation for creating new construction jobs. Clearly the requirement of paying prevailing wage has not hindered development nor kept businesses away from Wyandotte County. Prevailing wage and supplier diversity programs are an important part of the success. Success which is benefitting not only Wyandotte County, but the entire state of Kansas.
House Bill 2069 is expected to be debated by the full Senate on Monday, April 1.