Monday, May 4, 2015

Workers' wages aren't the problem -- corporate tax breaks are!

Income inequality is a growing problem in this country. But you would never know that by the actions of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and their corporate cronies who keep trying to take even more pay away from hardworking Americans.

The latest effort involves the move to roll back prevailing wage laws in states across the nation. Pushed for years by ALEC, the effort is making headway in states such as Indiana, Nevada and West Virginia, where Republican-controlled legislatures are buying into the argument that low wages for skilled professionals are OK if it means the state has to pay less.

Henry Burks, a 57-year-old union electrician in Indianapolis, said he will likely lose a quarter of his salary if Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R.) signs the bill there into law:
This is going to inhibit me from taking care of my family. Our wages will go down. The contractors we work for won't get as many jobs. Maybe I'll have to find work outside of Indiana.
Prevailing wage laws were passed in many states during the Great Depression to stop companies from offering low bids for projects that ultimately were covered by paying workers low wages. The law, which exists in 32 states and on federal contracts, ensures that private contractors pay workers on these public projects a salary in line with other workers doing similar work in a given geographical region.

Too many state lawmakers, however, are now looking to tamp down on such rules. This when many states at the same time are doling out tax breaks to corporations raking in record profits. It just isn't right!

Luckily, there are some standing up to this madness. Wisconsin state Sen. Howard Marklein, a Republican, announced he would oppose legislation that would repeal prevailing wage in that state, ensuring the bill won't make it through committee:
The prevailing wage law isn't perfect by any means, but I've got people in my district, contractors and workers, who are affected by it. I'm not comfortable at this point with full repeal.
More elected officials need to keep the needs of workers in mind when they go to vote on such legislation. Because the Teamsters will remember!