Warner Todd Huston and Jeff Dunetz report on a cost-saving measure in Michigan that seems nearly unthinkable in Rhode Island:
Its common knowledge that parts of Michigan are falling apart. One reason for the disintegration of infrastructure within Michigan is a jobs-killing union rule that drives up the cost of government projects. This puts many necessary repairs and upgrades outside the reach of State’s budget. Finally, this budget-killing rule has been thrown in the trash by the state legislature.
Wednesday, June 6th the Michigan House of Representatives and Senate passed a measure to put an end to the budget-killing union rule called the “prevailing wage.” This rule required that all construction projects initiated by the state government to pay workers the same wage union members make, even if the workers hired for said projects are not members of a union.
Rhode Island’s infrastructure maintenance budget would go so much farther (and require much less debt) if the government would allow itself to pay market rate for the work. Unfortunately, when it comes to our state government, we’re not a pragmatic state, but one concerned mainly with keeping insider arrangements alive.