Prevailing means pricey

June 27, 2013 

The O'Fallon District 90 School Board believes that Illinois' prevailing wage law is unjust, and it's hard to disagree. At the same time the state is sending O'Fallon less than promised for school operations, it's ordering the district to pay wages that are 30 percent to 50 percent higher than the going rate in the metro-east.

Even if the state were funding school districts as promised, the prevailing wage is a free market manipulation at the expense of the taxpayers.

By setting a minimum wage for carpenters, laborers, etc., the state is driving up the cost of public projects. It's minimum wage on steroids. Or as School Board President Steve Hellin put it, it's price fixing.

O'Fallon District 90 and school boards around the state have tried for several years to get state lawmakers to repeal the law, to no avail. So it's time for some civil disobedience.

Think Gov. Pat Quinn or Attorney General Lisa Madigan will have the nerve to challenge the district's decision when the state isn't paying its fair share of the bills?

But bottom line: Wages should be decided by the companies bidding on public projects, not the government.

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