Last week, the Center for Urban Real Estate at Columbia University released a report entitled The Complex Worlds of New York Prevailing Wage. The study demonstrates that prevailing wages on public projects increase costs of by as much as 30% – which all of us as taxpayers have to cover. And though prevailing wages mean higher pay for workers, they do not provide any corresponding benefit for the public.
It also recommends that prevailing wage mandates not be extended to apply to utilities or business improvement districts, a bill that is currently being debated in Albany.
The report concludes that:
“Now is also the time to reexamine the impact of prevailing wage on currently covered sectors. As the State of New York strives to rebuild its decaying infrastructure, it finds itself repeatedly stymied by high costs. Prevailing wage should be reexamined within the context of all the factors impeding capital rebuilding, including regulatory barriers, environmental reviews, financing restrictions, and costs of materials.”
We agree. A hard look at the prevailing wage laws, and how they are being applied, is long overdue.