Lawmaker: Some GOP members won’t vote for budget without prevailing wage repeal

A Republican state lawmaker says a number of GOP members have said they won’t vote for the state budget without a repeal of the state’s prevailing wage law.

Rep. Andre Jacque, R-DePere, called a hearing and a vote on a separate piece of legislation repealing prevailing wage for Wednesday morning. So far, 35 members of the state Assembly have signed on as co-sponsors of the measure.

“I just felt that this is certainly important to furthering the discussion that is occurring between the chambers of the legislature right now to indicate support for repeal of prevailing wage,” Jacque said Tuesday

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says efforts to take up prevailing wage repeal could hinder attempts to reform the program.

“Ultimately I look and say our caucus has discussed this and I know where our caucus is at,” Vos said Tuesday. “So we’ll have a hearing tomorrow but I hope the hearing does not derail our effort to get real reforms.”

Vos said there isn’t enough support in the Republican-controlled Legislature for a full repeal of the law that that requires construction workers on certain government projects be paid wages equivalent to what they would earn working on other projects in the area.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said last week he doesn’t have the votes for a full repeal, but he hopes to make changes in the state budget.

But Jacque said he believes “a number” of members of the Assembly and Senate GOP caucuses have said they won’t support the budget without a prevailing wage repeal.

“I think a lot of people are looking at reasons to support the budget or not and this is a very significant factor in that that’s been communicated to me and to others in my caucus ,” Jacque said.

“We are trying to negotiate to get the best possible prevailing wage deal put together and having people who are doing things outside that process without really talking to anybody in the state senate or talking to anybody involved in getting something to the governor’s desk, people can make their own choices,” Vos said.

The budget-writing Joint Finance Committee hopes to complete its work this week.