Bills would expand PLAs and prevailing wage on private projects

Bills would expand PLAs and prevailing wage on private projects — The Legislature is considering different pieces of legislation that would mandate the use of PLAs or expand prevailing wages into private industry.

SB 5744 defers state and local sales and use taxes for an investment project in either qualified buildings or qualified machinery and equipment, or both, for new, renovated or expanded manufacturing operations, including zero-emission vehicles and electricity from renewable resources; facilities that produce clean fuels; and facilities that store electricity from renewable resources. However, in order to take full advantage of the tax deferral, this bill requires the projects to be undertaken with a Project Labor Agreement/Community-Workforce Agreement (PPLA/CWA).

Because PLAs/CWAs are counter to fair and open competition, AGC is opposed to a bill it would otherwise support, due to its assistance of construction projects. The bill is prime sponsored by Sen. Nguyen, and it had a hearing on Tuesday, Jan. 18 in the Senate Environment, Energy and Technology Committee, where AGC chief lobbyist Jerry VanderWood testified in opposition.

HB 1846 provides tax breaks for the construction of data centers. Like SB 5744, the bill requires the projects to use a PLA/CWA in order to receive the full benefit of the tax breaks. As with SB 5744, AGC would be supportive of the measure if it did not include the PLA/CWA language.

HB 1776 requires at least the prevailing-wage rate for workers in petroleum refining or petrochemical manufacturing. It is precedent-setting in that it requires prevailing wages on private industries. If this bill is successful, it is not inconceivable that attempts will be made to expand prevailing wages to other industries. “This is not just an expansion of prevailing wages, it’s an expansion of government control over the private economy,” said AGC Chief Lobbyist Jerry VanderWood during testimony in the House Labor Committee on January 12. “And it does so with little justification.”

For more information, contact AGC Chief Lobbyist Jerry VanderWood.

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