South Bend lawmaker reads Times report on effects of common construction wage repeal to Indiana Senate

State Sen. David Niezgodski, D-South Bend, shares with his fellow senators Thursday a news report published in The Times that detailed the detrimental effects of Indiana's 2015 repeal of its common construction wage statute.

Dan Carden, The Times

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Senate paused its legislative business Thursday to hear state Sen. David Niezgodski, D-South Bend, read part of a news report, originally published in The Times, that detailed the effects of repealing the state's common construction wage.

The article covered an analysis by the nonpartisan Midwest Economic Policy Institute that found the 2015 law eliminating county minimum pay rates for public works projects reduced the wages and productivity of Hoosier workers, brought less skilled employees into the construction industry and did not save schools or local governments any money.

Niezgodski, who voted against the proposal as a member of the House, said he expects more studies in future years will continue to show that scrapping the common construction wage, also known as the prevailing wage, was a bad idea. He said the state should strive to avoid making similar mistakes this year as it takes steps to enhance its workforce.

"Fellow senators, I know that we're not going to take up this (common construction wage) issue anytime soon again," Niezgodski said. "But I think that it is not only our role in the Senate, but our role in the General Assembly, to do no harm.

"So let's do the things that are going to benefit our workforce and be able to grow young people into the workforce, where they can be proud, and they're going to remain in Indiana, and they're going to earn a good wage, and raise their family and continue to work and play in this great Hoosier State."

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Dan is Statehouse Bureau Chief for The Times. Since 2009, he's reported on Indiana government and politics — and how both impact the Region — from the state capital in Indianapolis. He originally is from Orland Park, Ill.