A study released by Columbia University's Center for Urban Real Estate revealed New York's methods for establishing prevailing wage rates are grossly outdated and costing New York taxpayers.

The study found the New York system of using collective bargaining agreements to establish wage rates is likely invalid given that union membership is presently lower than 30 percent in most localities. In fact, unions now represent only 24 percent of the state's construction workforce, yet New York still relies on union collective bargaining agreements when establishing prevailing wage rates. Near the turn of the last century, New York established wage standards to ensure construction workers were receiving a normal, or "prevailing," private-sector wage and benefits on public construction work. While New York law allows the prevailing wage rate to rely on wage rates in collective bargaining agreements between unions and private employers, it may only do so if such employers employ at least 30 percent of workers in the same trade in the locality where the work is being performed.

Video: Unions and Pols Pay to Play: WSJ Opinion

Read the Report: The Complex Worlds of New York Prevailing Wage