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AK State House Maj. Caucus press release: House Acts to Raise Prevailing Wage Threshold for Public Construction Contracts for First Time since Statehood (HB155)

L&C’s HB155 strikes compromise between trades and project biddees

Tuesday, March 29, 2011, Juneau, Alaska – The Alaska State House of Representatives today unanimously passed legislation that stands to save municipalities, government agencies and small construction contractors around the state thousands of dollars per year.

The House Labor & Commerce Committee sponsored the bill, HB155, which raises the prevailing wage threshold in Alaska for public construction contracts for the first time since 1959.

The current threshold, which mandates prevailing wages – or Little Davis Bacon Wages – be paid to employees working on public construction contracts over $2,000, is based on the federal Davis Bacon threshold set in 1935. HB 155 raises it to $25,000 after careful negotiations between committee members and stakeholders from the trades, construction industry and local government advocacy groups.

“Inflation alone justifies the change in statute, since our threshold is currently based on a Depression-era figure that hasn’t been looked at in over 50 years. Needless to say, things have substantially changed since the pre-WWII boom,” House Labor & Commerce Committee Chair Kurt Olson, R-Kenai, said. “One good measure of any negotiation is that neither side can walk away feeling like they’ve come out on top, and that’s the case here; we’ve come to a reasonable threshold that stands to save property tax payers and local governments across the state considerable money in the long-run.”

HB 155 now moves to the Alaska Senate for consideration.

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