Boots & Sabers

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1640, 29 Apr 15

Vos: Don’t have the Votes to Repeal Prevailing Wage Law

I’m sure he’s right, but it’s a shame.

Vos spoke on WISN-AM in Milwaukee on Wednesday morning that he supports a full repeal of prevailing wage but it’s likely that lawmakers will insert changes to prevailing wage law into Gov. Scott Walker’s budget. He did not elaborate.

This law costs the taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in wasted spending. That’s real money that could be used to fund a lot of other priorities. But it looks like we’re going to just keep wasting it because that’s what Wisconsin government does.



1640, 29 April 2015


  1. Pat

    What the hell happened to big, bold, and unintimidated??? Caving in because of a fear of a loss of power over doing what’s right??? Republicans are showing their true colors.

  2. Dave

    The more ways you take money out of the pockets of working class people the more the economy of this state heads south. Even Republicans are realizing this. Look at the different approaches in Wisconsin and Minnesota and the different results!

  3. Owen

    You do realize that the money that goes to pay for the inflated prices comes out of the pockets of other working people, right?

  4. Kraig Sadownikow

    Locally, we accept the lowest, qualified bid. One of the arguments I hear from bridge and major highway builders (and politicians protecting them) is that non-union companies are not as qualified as the union firms. If this is true, the union – prevailing wage paying – firms are not at risk of losing work due to the absence of qualified firms to perform these large projects. On the other hand, if there are qualified firms willing to perform the same work for less, why would the State require the taxpayers to pay more.

    West Bend has about a $1,000,000 road maintenance budget that typically goes toward relatively basic road upgrades. Most of the firms hired work on both prevailing wage and non-prevailing wage projects throughout a calendar year. By requiring the City to pay prevailing wage it is estimated about 25% fewer road miles can be improved each year. Road conditions continue to be the #1 concern from citizens. We could, right now, do 25% more work each year without a single additional tax dollar being required.

    Finally, and possibly the most sickening part of prevailing wage law, is that prevailing wages are required even if a project uses donated monies. The Regner Park stage, pavilion and concession stand upgrades the past few years were paid for 100% with corporate and private donations. Because the improvements were done on public property and ultimately donated to the City, prevailing wage had to be paid. The work was performed completely by local trades who, to my knowledge, pay their employees based on the law of supply and demand, not the law of prevailing wage. The supreme generosity of this community stepped up and supported a Park in need of improvements….unfortunately the donations only purchased 75% of the products and services they should have. Another local example is the fantastic new Performing Arts Center at the High School which was made possible by a generous community.

    The Republican Party has shown real leadership the past several years on topics such as Act 10, Voter ID and Right-to-work. The same leadership qualities are required to reform prevailing wage laws.

  5. Nashotah Conservative


    I think the logic is that if you can do 10 projects for $100 million with prevailing wage, and we can save 30% by repealing it, that now means we can do 13 projects for $100 million.

    I’m all for paying a fair wage, but how is requiring local governments to take the highest/most expensive bid a good idea? People can still make $100 an hour, but they’ll need to innovate to be able to do better quality work faster in order to maintain that margin. Why preserve a monopoly for

    I agree Owen that this is a frustrating setback in Government, but let’s blame the State Assembly here. The State Assembly is protecting a law that forces local governments to pay 30% more. Local governments don’t have the ability to try and negotiate a better price because the State Assembly is against choice.

    I’ve been kind of frustrated by Vos’s leadership. It makes me wonder if Act 10 would have been passed if Vos was speaker at that point instead of Fitzgerald.

    The Casino/Arena debacles and now prevailing wage… what’s next?

  6. Nashotah Conservative

    Great post Kraig. Thanks for sharing. West Bend has done some impressive things under your leadership

  7. Jadedly Unbiased

    This is the same cowardly behavior that keep Governor Walker and other Republicans from including all public sector workers (police and firefighters) in Act 10. It has more to do with keeping political power then what’s best for our great state. In you piss off to many union workers your bound to loss the next round of elections. Politicians will always choose party(and job security)over people.

  8. Pat

    This shows the difference between a Republican and a Conservative.

  9. Jadedly Unbiased

    Unfortunately, most conservatives including libertarians vote Republican.

  10. steveegg

    Let’s ask Sen. Tom Reynolds how well bucking the bipartisan Road Builders PAC worked…oh, that’s right – the bipartisan Party-In-Government, WisTAXsin Division, took him out at the orders of the Road Builders. I’m surprised the auto-raising of the gas tax hasn’t come back already.

  11. Jadedly Unbiased

    Prevailing wage or non-prevailing wage projects is slang for public or private projects. If the implication is only the public projects are charged the prevailing wage rate that would be incorrect. Union rate is union rate, public or private project. The bid is what matters more.

  12. Kevin scheunemann

    What the West Bend mayor said…

  13. Jadedly Unbiased

    What Mr. Sadowniskow fails to acknowledge is the reason for the lack of action. Also, his assertion that nonunion contractors are as qualified isn’t necessarily true nor does it matter. The difference is and has happened in the past, the nonunion contractor has the temptation to cut corners thus pocketing more cash and possibly lowering safety. Union standards are typically ensured lowering this risk. You get what you pay for.

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