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.

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Mike
Mike
13 years ago

Unwilling NOT unable. this isn’t exactly breaking news is it?

Monique
Editor
13 years ago

“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.”
… when did this become government’s job?

Tom W
Tom W
13 years ago

Smells like a variation of project labor agreements / living wage ordinances that in reality are fronts for a union subsidy / union protection.
Dig below the surface and you’ll likely find that the apprentice programs are run under the auspices of unions, and only union contractors are allowed to have apprentices in those programs.
In other words, likely this is a stealth attempt to expand “prevailing wage” laws to “union only bidding laws” – protecting unionized contractors (and thus unions) will be insulated from having to compete with non-union, and ensuring that the taxpayers will pay higher amounts for public works projects.

teqjack
teqjack
13 years ago

$100,000 or more? Are we talking about installing a drinking fountain next to a sink? Or perhaps covering over tarmac in a playground with sand/grass?
I had to deal with this sort of pricing once in person. I applied for something-or-other when I was living night-by-night in a shelter, and was informed that as my car (the only tangible property I had: I didn’t even have a TV left) was worth more than $1500 I did not qualify. I couldn’t find anything at the State Archives, but one of the employees there [note – against the rules] decided to help. He called one of the AG offices lawyers whom he knew personally, who in turn answered that the figure had been inserted over ten years earlier! As an “emergency measure” to conform with similar Federal programs!

OldTime Lefty
13 years ago

Monique,
You wrote, “‘the bill ensures that the construction industry prepares a future generation of laborers to replace what is now an aging work force.’
… when did this become government’s job?”
Why shouldn’t it be the government’s job. The private sector has obviously failed the working class. In case you missed it, the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, not just in R.I., but nationally under a laissez faire federal government with laissez faire Supreme Court justices. If the private sector cannot right the economy, the government must step in. See “Roosevelt, Franklyn D.”
Ready or not, here we come.
OldtimeLefty

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