West Virginia Lawmakers OK Bill to Eliminate Prevailing Wage

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – Amid union opposition, the Republican-led Legislature has voted to repeal West Virginia’s prevailing wage for public construction projects.

The Senate’s 18-16 party-line vote Thursday sends the bill to Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin for a likely veto. The House previously passed it 55-44.

Republicans have veto-proof majorities, and would likely override Tomblin’s disapproval.

Republicans believe the wage is inflated and say repealing it would save taxpayer money. Democrats say the repeal wouldn’t produce savings, but would reduce pay and benefits out-of-state contractors.

The wage applies to union and non-union contracts.

Senators rejected Democratic pushes this week to study the bill’s fiscal impact further, substitute the federal prevailing wage and give preference to in-state labor.

Republican leaders aren’t happy with a compromise last year that let Tomblin’s administration retool the wage.