Two dead bills in the 2009 General Assembly, SB 145 and SB 146, would have cut costs in state government by trimming back the heavy burden prevailing wages put on public construction projects.
The Bluegrass Institute has endorsed dropping policies and programs that require expenditures of public money with little or no discernible public benefit. Prevailing wage is a big one. At a time in which healthcare spending in a front-burner issue, certificate of need repeal is another. And after dragging the circus into Frankfort last summer to "reform" public employee fringe benefits and its $30 billion and growing disaster in the making, House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Senate President David Williams are now making noises about reneging on the improved funding schedule of which they were once so proud.
Rep. Bill Farmer warned last June that this would happen:
"But Rep. Bill Farmer, R-Lexington, said future General Assemblies will be free to ignore what really amounts to a funding suggestion. Farmer sees an ulterior motive in the hesitancy to address exploding health-care spending for government employees.
"If they decide not to make those payments in a future General Assembly, they just won’t make them and there is nothing anyone can do about it," Farmer said."
Kind of makes you wonder why Gov. Steve Beshear, Williams, and Stumbo are now slapping each other on the back and congratulating themselves on a "productive session."