ABC playing the waiting game on prevailing wage law
I cannot say I was surprised Tuesday when I got word from John Mielke that the Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin Inc. would not pursue further legal recourse against the state’s new prevailing wage law.
Mielke, ABC’s vice president, told me the association’s board of directors opted instead to seek a legislative fix next session when there is a new governor and new Legislature.
Having been at the ruling last week when Dane County Circuit Judge John Markson declined ABC’s request for an injunction and dismissed its complaint that the Department of Workforce Development asked too much of contractors, I can say the judge gave a thorough reasoning of why he did it and made a tough case for appeal.
Appealing the decision might have meant another few months’ suspension of DWD enforcement of the law, but at this point even the DWD is saying it’s not talking about penalties for noncompliance yet. Contractors are also saying as much: it’s the law and they’ll have to deal with it.
I doubt anyone can say that the monthly reporting requirements and $25,000 threshold for projects will be permanent. I know there are lawmakers out there who want it repealed, and I also know neighboring states such as Michigan and Illinois have a $1 threshold by which to apply prevailing wage rates. There’s room to go either way.
And, as Robb Kahl, the executive director of Construction Business Group pointed out, few know what exactly the changes mean to the industry.
With the ABC’s suit essentially suspending enforcement of the law since February and a lot more construction coming into play now than in the late winter months, many company and local government representatives say the costs and burdens of the new requirements are still unknown.
Maybe it will hurt some companies, and maybe it won’t. But it’s the law of the land now.
A couple years ago, The Daily Reporter had an editorial shift and the writers, who for years had to only do one story a day, were told they had to do two. I don’t think we were thrilled about having to double our quota, but in this little world it became the law of the land.
We adapted and now it’s simply daily routine … at least until a new editor comes along and decides we’re overworked.
But I reckon Wisconsin will have a new governor before that happens.
Paul Snyder is a staff writer at The Daily Reporter. He’s hoping for a new governor, and quick.