Prevailing wage

To the Editor,

Before I comment on the Mary Wilke’s tirade in the December 2 issue of The Review against my recent letter, I need to make two points: First, my letters are my own opinion and are not meant to represent the views of The Republican Party of Sheboygan County although they may be similar. Second, my recommendation to repeal the Wisconsin Prevailing Wage law had nothing to do with our Sheboygan County Highway Dept. employees. In fact, a person associated with that depart- ment told me that their flagmen earned much less pay, as compared to the $45/hr. required on a state prevailing wage project in Sheboygan County. The two are completely separate issues but help to reinforce my point.

The variation between what the county is paying flagmen and the state prevailing wage requirements is the amount that we are overpaying the flagmen on state funded road projects. Then add in all the other trades that are probably overpaid and you realize that our roads are costing much more than necessary. People will stand in line in the bitter cold on Black Friday for a deal at the local retail store but think nothing of letting our state government throw millions of dollars away on a road project.

The accusation made that I would want the government shut down for a tax cut is ludicrous. One of the options that I suggested could be done with the savings from repealing the Prevailing Wage Law is to accelerate the replacement of our infrastructure which in many cases is deteriorating and unsafe. That would actually create more jobs and increase our standard of living at the same time even without changing the amount of taxes collected. A good example of that phenomenon is Governor Walker’s Act 10. While there is still much hand wringing going on by the teachers, the Act 10 savings to the school districts was mostly used to stop the wholesale layoff of teachers thus avoiding class size increases, improving the schools, and creating more teaching jobs.

Misunderstood was my quote about the greed of builders and their unions. Much of the support for the Prevailing Wage Law comes from the cartel of road building companies and, yes Ms. Wilke, their greedy CEOs who continuously lobby to maintain the status quo. Their interest is to limit competition by making it difficult for other companies to procure road contracts and to raise the cost of construction because their markup increases with every raise in the wage determination. Indeed, the Prevailing Wage Law is a boon to executives and owners of road construction companies whose influence in Madison is huge and needs to be taken down a notch or two.

Thank you for taking the time to listen to this debate and tell Governor Walker that the Prevailing Wage Law hurts Wisconsin.

Dennis Gasper
Vice Chairman Sheboygan County Republican Party

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