House panel backs repealing Indiana public projects wage law

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A sharply divided Indiana House committee has endorsed a proposal to repeal the state law that sets wages for public construction projects.

The Republican-controlled House Labor Committee voted 8-4 Tuesday in favor of eliminating the boards that set construction wages for each state or local project.

Supporters of the repeal say it would save an estimated 10 percent to 20 percent on state construction projects by allowing more contractors to pay wages below union scale. Indiana Chamber of Commerce President Kevin Brinegar called the law a wasteful interference by government.

Numerous construction company officials testified against the repeal during a four-hour hearing. Rieth Riley Construction President Keith Rose says labor costs on most projects are less than 20 percent, so the projected savings don't add up.

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