Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman has introduced Anne Arundel County’s first prevailing wage legislation. The bill, co-sponsored by Councilmembers Sarah Lacey, Lisa Rodvien, Andrew Pruski and Allison Pickard, was introduced during a council hearing on Sept. 7. The public hearing will take place on Monday, Oct. 4.
The prevailing wage legislation, modeled after the state law and similar laws in other Maryland counties, will set the minimum hourly and a fringe benefit rate for the construction trades working on County contracts.
Anne Arundel County’s capital budget totals $430.2 million in fiscal 2021, and includes $183.9 million in County-controlled construction spending. A prevailing wage law on County-controlled construction spending would increase wages and benefits for the construction trades and increase the market share for Anne Arundel County construction contractors. A prevailing wage law on County-controlled construction spending would increase wages and benefits for the construction trades and increase the market share for Anne Arundel County construction contractors.
Most County-controlled construction spending is allocated to infrastructure, including sewer and water projects, and public works such as storm drains, streets, highways and bridges. As a result, much of the direct impacts from prevailing wages benefit local laborers and operating engineers.
A study by Pinnacle Economics projects across the fiscal 2021-2026 capital spending plan, a county-level prevailing wage would lead to a net increase of $34.3 million and 400 jobs for construction trades and other workers in Anne Arundel County. The local hire clause in the bill requires that contractors make best efforts to fill at least 51 percent of new jobs and new hires on capital improvement contracts and projects with county residents, helping to provide more opportunity for employment on county public works projects to county residents.
Prevailing wage laws enacted in other states have boosted tax revenues without raising construction costs, decreased inequalities in the construction industry by closing the wage disparity between white and minority tradespeople, and raised standards for middle class and female workers. Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Charles County, Montgomery County, and Prince George’s County have all implemented prevailing wage legislation, to the benefit of workers in those communities.
Residents can obtain additional answers to frequently asked questions about the Prevailing Wage legislation by referencing the bill’s FAQ Sheet (at www.aacounty.org/news-and-events/news-resources/pw-faq-sheet-3.pdf), or by emailing [email protected].