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Democrats seek prevailing wage protection as part of road funding deal

Aug 19, 2015

Credit WFIU Public Radio / Creative Commons

Update, 11:05 p.m.:

The House adjourned late Wednesday night without a vote on a road funding deal after hours of negotiations. The House has adjourned until September.

Original post: 

State House Democrats want to protect Michigan’s prevailing wage law as part of a road funding deal.

It appears Republican leaders are seeking Democratic votes to pass a plan this week.

Prevailing wage guarantees union-level pay and benefits to workers on publicly funded construction projects. Democrats want to stop a petition drive that would repeal the law.

“We want to make sure that prevailing wage is addressed so that labor can be comfortable and neutral as it relates to moving ahead with road projects,” said state Rep. Brian Banks, D-Detroit, chair of the House Detroit Caucus.

“You can bring everyone to the table to have some conversations and get to a place where we can possibly kill the ballot proposal.”

A state House panel also approved two bills on Wednesday that would make it easier for Detroit to collect income taxes.

When asked whether those are part of a possible roads deal, Banks said, “it’s playing its part.”

Legislative leaders are working to round up enough votes to raise taxes and make significant budget cuts to boost road funding.