Development Bill is Fatally Flawed

Don’t Be Fooled, Folks: Expanding the Prevailing Wage is Always a Bad Idea for New Jerseyans

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

Organized Labor

The so-called “New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act of 2013” is supposed to receive a General Assembly floor vote on Monday, Save Jerseyans.

A3680 was originally designed with the stated goal of streamlining New Jersey’s numerous business incentive programs, specifically, by having the Economic Development Authority (EDA) administer both the “Grow New Jersey Assistance Program” and the “Economic Redevelopment and Growth Grant Program.”

Expanding business incentives. Eliminating red tape. Making government more efficient. What’s not to like for a conservative, right? The bill has attracted a number of Republican sponsors/co-sponsors. But as is often the case with Trenton, the devil is truly in the details. Check out this excerpt from the reprint:

(c) Through regulation, the authority shall require that each worker employed in the performance of any construction contract for work at a redevelopment project shall be paid not less than the prevailing wage rate, consistent with the requirements of section 1 of P.L.1979, c.303 (C.34:1B-5.1).

(d) Through regulation, the authority shall require that each worker employed in building maintenance services of a redevelopment project by a developer or a tenant or subcontractor of a developer shall be paid not less than the prevailing wage rate for the worker’s craft or trade as determined by the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development pursuant to P.L.1963, c.150 (C.34:11-56.25 et seq.) and P.L.2005, c.379 (C.34:11-56.58 et seq.).

Here we go again, Save Jerseyans.

I’ve been railing against the prevailing wage for years; it artificially (and capriciously) inflates the cost of doing business in New Jersey and, consequently, hurts those it seeks to help much like the minimum wage. The Democrat State Senate just tried a similar trick, one which if it has become law would’ve increased the cost of Sandy recovery by approximately 35%. Is that outcome truly good for the Garden State? Or the union bosses who grease the wheels of power?

You know the answer without me telling you. Contact your legislators (click here to find’em and their contact info) and express your displeasure with this bill in its current form.

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