Repeal wage regulation to ease budget crisis

In the current age of state and federal fiscal irresponsibility, Gov. Steve Beshear should be praised for tightening the state’s purse strings during a time of economic downturn. However, instead of offsetting Kentucky’s current initiatives to improve state education by cutting state funding, Beshear should examine current laws that needlessly inflate the state budget.

State Rep. Tim Moore recently suggested repealing the prevailing-wage law, but the debate was silenced by representatives of union districts. The prevailing-wage law forces contractors who are building government facilities to pay the typical wage of similar construction workers in the region. Yet, due to the current calculation method, union wages are disproportionally weighted.

In 2002 alone, this loophole inflated wages 24 percent and added 7 percent to overall state construction costs. During that year, the cost to taxpayers was an eye-popping $137 million. The cost of this market manipulation is passed on to UK through higher costs within its capital expansion plan. Students are affected by slower facility improvements and higher tuition.

As students and residents of Kentucky, we should demand that our tax dollars and tuition be spent by the most efficient means. Help Beshear and President Lee Todd balance their budgets. Call your state representative and tell him or her to let market conditions determine the wage of Kentucky construction workers and to repeal the prevailing-wage law.

Jeb Duke

M.B.A. student