Earlier this week I shared how the Massachusetts Democratic Party wasted close to $33 million dollars of stimulus money. They literally flushed it down the drain by overpaying for labor costs on water treatment projects.
To recap the waste comes from the difference in the prevailing wage from the Federal Prevailing wage as outlined in the Davis-Bacon act and the Massachusetts prevailing wage. According to the Beacon Hill institute this difference accounts for $17.7 of every $100 dollars spent on public works projects going directly to inflated labor costs, lining the pockets of the Unions.
How much does this cozy arrangement cost? At the Beacon Hill Institute, we computed the three prevailing wages for a group of nine construction trades in the Boston area. For the nine trades, the average wage for all workers is $27.09 per hour. The federal prevailing wage is $37.45, and the state prevailing wage $58.84. Thus union workers on Massachusetts public-works projects make more than double what construction workers in the state make on average.
How much would state construction costs fall if we repealed the state prevailing wage? The Beacon Hill Institute estimates that the cost savings would have been $177 million in fiscal 2008 – during which the state spent about $1 billion on public works projects.
Earlier this month the Massachusetts Republican House Leadership submitted an amendment to suspend the Massachusetts prevailing wage on all Stimulus funded projects. The Republican leadership was unable to force a vote when they fell one member short of the 15 needed to do so. Not one Democrat stood up for the tax payers to force a vote on the issue.
This week the Boston Globe reported that the total money earmarked for transportation projects coming to Massachusetts from the “Stimulus Package” is $800 million. Using the Beacon Hill Instutes estimates that means that $141 million dollars in Federal Stimulus money is being wasted by the Massachusetts Democratic Party’s inaction on the Republican Amendment.
Couple this $141 million with the $33 million outlined earlier this week and you get a total of $174,000,000 Federal dollars wasted by the Massachusetts Democratic Party.