There is an excellent opinion piece in today’s Albuquerque Journal regarding the way New Mexico’s prevailing wage law is calculated. As we noted in our policy paper on eliminating the budget deficit, the changes made to the law back in 2009, going back to the old way of calculating the prevailing wage law could save taxpayers $60 million annually.
Simply put, New Mexicans should not over-pay for labor on state projects. It is unfair and it takes resources away from other government priorities and will stifle economic growth.
While re-calculating New Mexico’s prevailing wage law as the legislators write would be an important step, the fact is that public works projects should be constructed at market wages that don’t require arbitrary calculations based on local wage rates, etc.
And, while some contractors will not like this, the fact is that strengthening preferences for “local” contractors as some would like to do is only going to increase prices and/or reduce quality. This effort should be abandoned in tough budgetary times as well.