Davis-Bacon and prevailing wage laws have had astounding results since their inception.
by Mark Douglas
Paying workers higher wages means they become self-sufficient instead of becoming dependent on public assistance. This provides a two-fold benefit of improving quality of living and lowering burdens for American taxpayers. In addition, these laws and the technology needed to enforce them have had an unexpected boon-local communities now have the ability to track their disadvantaged worker hiring goals which has proven transformative for both disadvantaged families and for the communities in which they live.
What is Davis-Bacon and Prevailing Wage?
Every American strives to earn a fair wage which allows a lifetime of health and prosperity. Our country was built on this very foundation-that regardless of race, religion, or creed, all of us have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Today, however, many find themselves unable to live the American dream. Construction workers in particular are earning wages below the poverty line or losing jobs to out-of-state or illegal immigrants willing to work for low wages.
Often times unscrupulous contractors severely underpay their workers in an effort to undercut ethical competition and win government contracts. This results in a multi-billion-dollar tax burden to the American government through increased numbers of people enrolled in health care, welfare, food stamp, and other public assistance programs for these underpaid, uninsured workers.
In 1931, the Davis-Bacon Act sought to protect both federal construction workers and the public from greed driven contractors. Over the next ten years thirty states passed prevailing wage laws that accomplished the same mission in local communities. The purpose of these laws was to create an equal playing field for bidders so that contractors compete based on skill, productivity and safety instead of low bids through paying workers below-the-poverty-line wages.