Finance, National

Study Says Prevailing-Wage Repeal Would Cost States More in Food Stamps

June 23, 2017

By Tara Jessup

June 24, 2017 
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel

Madison, WI – Repealing its prevailing-wage law would cost Wisconsin more money in public assistance and lost revenues than the state would save on construction contracts, a study released June 19 by the Midwest Economic Policy Institute says.

If the state could hire contractors who paid workers 44% less, as repeal supporters have argued, that would cut the average building-trades salary to less than $29,000 a year, it found—and that would cost the state more than $18 million a year in lost tax revenues, $6 million in earned-income tax-credit payments, and $38 million in food stamps. Once federal taxes and health-care costs were factored in, it said, “the worst-case potential social costs of repealing prevailing wage range from $224 million to $337 million every year.” “I’ve heard my colleagues across the aisle say repeatedly that they want to give people a hand up, not a handout,” Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca said at a news conference at the state capitol June 20. “Repealing prevailing wage does the exact opposite of that, as it actually assures more workers will need government assistance.” Read more

June 23, 2017

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