Bob Ehle of KWIX and Brad Tregnago of KSSZ contributed to this story
State Rep. Holly Rehder (R-Sikeston) does not know if the Missouri legislature will pass a full repeal of a so-called prevailing wage law but she expects some changes. Republicans want to remove a minimum wage requirement for construction projects on things like schools and jails.
“When it comes to our smaller counties, our third and fourth class counties, our school districts, we need reform. We have to have that. Our prevailing wages are not accurate outside of the urban areas,” said Rehder at a Farm Bureau event. “Down in my area, which is probably about the same around here, we’re paying St. Louis type wages when our cost of living is not St. Louis. So we’re paying much escalated to put a roof on our firehouse or to build onto the schools. So you have to wait and wait and wait. That’s just something that we have to get fixed in Missouri right away.”
Rep. Chuck Basye (R-Rocheport) agrees with Rehder.
“I know that a lot of union people are very concerned that it’s going to be a cut in their wages and all that. It just comes down to a simple thing of competition,” said Basye. “If you’re doing a good job, I think you’re going to continue to get the contracts.”
Opponents of repealing the law say companies would take away jobs that would normally go to local contractors and award them to cheaper, out-of-state workers.
The measure, sponsored by Rep. Warren Love (R-Osceola), has passed in the full House and a state Senate committee.