House votes to repeal Indiana’s common construction wage

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Indiana House lawmakers voted 55-41 Monday to repeal the state’s common construction wage.

The measure quickly made its way to the house floor after more than four hours of debate last week.

The 80-year-old law sets base wages for all major public construction projects in Indiana.

“This isn’t going to cut anyone,” State Rep. Jerry Torr (R-Carmel) said, the bill’s author. “It’s just going to let the free market work on public works projects bid so taxpayers get the best deal for their money.”

Supporters of repealing the law argue the change will save Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars.

“This is reality,” State Rep. Jud McMillin (R-Brookville) said. “The reality is I came up here to enact good policy and protect taxpayers. This is the most taxpayer protection bill I have been part of since I’ve been up here.”

Opponents, with the backing of union contractors, argued a repeal will hurt Indiana’s economy.

“If you really believe lowering wages in your community is what people sent you here to do, then you vote for this bill,” State Repp. Chuck Moseley (D-Portage) said.

House Minority Leader Scott Pelath called the measure a Washington D.C. driven bill.

“So I want to make one final appeal to the men and women in this chamber,” he said. “In a bipartisan way, on this day, let’s opt for solving a problem. The way we solve a problem is to leave these folks alone. Leave them alone.”

The measure now heads to the State Senate.

Last week, Gov. Mike Pence put his support behind the bill, saying he would sign the repeal into law if it passes both chambers of the General Assembly.