Digging a Deeper Hole
See, here’s the sort of proposal that illustrates that our legislators truly do not understand and/or are unwilling to address the structural problems that plague Rhode Island:
After a lengthy debate, the House put off a vote on a bill sponsored by Majority Leader Gordon D. Fox, D-Providence, that would require all state public works projects with price tags of $100,000 or more to be performed by contractors who pay apprentices in an on-the-job training program.
Supporters including House Labor Committee Chairman Arthur J. Corvese, D-North Providence, said the bill ensures that the construction industry prepares a future generation of laborers to replace what is now an aging work force.
But Republicans slammed the legislation as excluding smaller contractors and wasting money in a year when the state is struggling to cut costs.
House Minority Whip Nicholas Gorham, R-Coventry, said lawmakers need only look to a strongly worded letter from the state’s Division of Purchases to get a whiff of the proposal’s flaws:
“By requiring contractors to have apprentice programs in order to bid, the bill essentially knocks [small contractors] out of the bidding process which favors larger contractors that have apprentice programs already in place,” the state’s acting purchasing agent Lorraine A. Hynes wrote in a March 25 letter to Corvese. “Further, by decreasing the number of bidders, the bill will drive up the cost of State contracts which will hurt Rhode Island taxpayers.
“At a time when the State is facing large budget deficits, it is unwise to consider measures that potentially increase costs,” she wrote.
The General Assembly ought to be stripping these regulations from the law, not adding them to it.