Construction workers in Kentucky contribute $20 million to state and local taxes. This allows policy makers to balance budgets and fund infrastructure and public safety without raising taxes on everyone else.
However, workers NOT paid prevailing wage are eligible for up to $8,000 in public assistance, which costs taxpayers for additional reliance on cash assistance, food stamps and unpaid visits to the emergency room. Taxpayers don't save without prevailing wage, they SUBSIDIZE low-wage jobs.
Prevailing wage is the wage paid to skilled construction workers on publicly funded projects estimated to cost more than $250,000. The wages are set by Kentucky's Labor Cabinet based on what construction workers in the area make on private sector projects. This forces big government to abide by local private sector economies.
[i] Kentucky's Prevailing Wage Law, an Economic Impact Analysis, Peter Philips, Ph.D., 2014.
[ii] Economic Policy Brief, Working Partnerships USA, 2011.