Weather-Related Disclaimer: missives from legislators concerning road conditions, although timely and important, should be considered snapspots in time. For the most recent travel information, please consult MoDOT's Web site at

except when the post starts "MO Expat", all content published on Missives from Missouri is written and supplied by the noted legislator. Said missives will not necessarily reflect the views of Kyle Hill, the operator of Missives from Missouri, and as such the operator does not assume responsibility for its content. More information
Share this missive:

14 February 2012

Mayer: A New Prevailing Wage to Protect Taxpayers

This year, I’ve sponsored Senate Bill 439 that would go a long way to making sure taxpayers aren’t being fleeced when it comes to the rates they have to pay contractors on public building projects.

Currently in Missouri, we have what is called prevailing wage. Prevailing wage is a wage set by the Division of Labor Standards. The goal with prevailing wage is that it is supposed to use data on the wages paid for occupations in each county to set the rate contractors are paid on public works projects.

Unfortunately, our current system doesn’t work well. In fact, in many counties there is no data submitted to determine the prevailing wage. When that happens, the system looks to counties where there is data and that can inflate the rate taxpayers should have to pay.

A perfect example of this is happening in Stoddard County. No data was submitted for the rates paid to electricians in Stoddard County, so the division set Stoddard County’s prevailing wage for electricians based on data from St. Charles County.

That means electricians who work on public projects – like school or public buildings - in Stoddard County would be paid $52.18 because that is what they are paid in St. Charles County, despite the fact St. Charles County has a median household income double that of the residents of Stoddard County.

That’s why I’ve proposed we forego having the state division determine the prevailing wage and instead base it on the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Through surveys, they report the rate of pay for almost every occupation in every county in America. Under their data, an electrician in Stoddard County would be paid $20.29 an hour.

This new method is a reasonable compromise that would continue the legacy of a prevailing wage, but be better representative of what is actually paid to the same workers in each county. At the end of the day, adopting the federal wage estimates as the prevailing wage in Missouri counties will mean taxpayers can feel confident they are rewarding and attracting good contractors and employees, but at the same time they are not being fleeced.

I’ll work to pass SB439 this year so counties like ours can better afford to maintain and build public works projects.

Please feel free to contact me with your comments, questions, or issues at the contact information listed below and on my website at

No comments:

Post a Comment