Letters to the Editor

Prevailing wage laws hurt taxpayers

With all of the news of city and state budgets being cut I thought that I would mention something that most people don't know. It's called the Davis Bacon Act. This act says that any projects contracted out using city, state or federal money shall pay employees the "prevailing wage." This wage is quite high, with some skilled trades, plumbers, electricians, etc. making up to $65 to $70 per hour, plus medical. It does not seem right that outside of these Davis Bacon positions, or a union job (which is a whole letter of its own), these trades, if you can find work are paid $23 to $28 per hour.

These projects are paid for using tax money. We are basically cutting public safety and education so that we can pay tradesmen 2.5 to 3 times what they could make in the real world. There are many places for cuts to be made in our top-heavy government, they just don't want make them.



Editor's Note: The Davis Bacon Act applies to federal projects. California is one of many states with its own prevailing wage laws. The current wage and benefit amounts are available at the state Department of Industrial Relations Web site, www.dir.ca.gov.