It’s Time to Overhaul the 90-year-old Davis-Bacon Act, Says ABC
WASHINGTON, DC — Associated Builders and Contractors today released the following statement from Ben Brubeck, ABC vice president of regulatory, labor and state affairs, on the 90th anniversary of the Davis-Bacon Act, a 1931 law that requires contractors and subcontractors that perform work on federally funded or assisted construction contracts in excess of $2,000 to pay a government-determined prevailing wage and benefit rate on an hourly basis to on-site workers:
“The 90-year-old Davis-Bacon Act, an archaic and flawed policy that is far past its expiration date, must undergo commonsense regulatory reforms or be fully repealed. This system of the federal government setting ‘prevailing wages’ is outdated, needlessly raises construction project costs, stifles contractor productivity and discourages competition from small businesses interested in pursuing federal and federally assisted construction projects.
“The federal government freely admits that setting government-mandated prevailing wage and benefit rates through an unscientific survey process is riddled with errors and inefficiencies, which is simply bad public policy. Eliminating the Davis-Bacon Act or reforming its regulations to provide clarity and accurate and timely rates would create the conditions for all qualified contractors and their skilled workforce to compete to rebuild their communities and give taxpayers additional value for investments in public works projects, as America faces a $2.6 trillion infrastructure gap by 2029.”
ABC recently surveyed its contractor members on the burdensome Davis-Bacon Act and related prevailing wage laws, and their impact on member companies’ ability to develop their workforce, hire local, small, women- minority-, veteran-owned and disadvantaged businesses and workers, win work, and deliver quality projects safely, on time and on budget.
Nearly 90% of survey respondents did not support prevailing wage laws and the Davis-Bacon Act in its current form, and 83% of respondents support a full repeal of prevailing wage laws, while 82% supported prevailing wage law reform. In addition, 95% of respondents said prevailing wage laws make construction projects more expensive and 75% of respondents said prevailing wage regulations make them less likely to bid on taxpayer-funded public works projects.