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During his first State of the State address on Feb. 2, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) called for reforms related to project labor agreements (PLAs) and prevailing wage requirements that will help empower Illinois residents and drive economic growth.

During his address, Rauner pointed out that PLA and prevailing wage requirements can increase the cost to taxpayers by 20 percent or more. Specifically, he called attention the following statistics:

  • Uncompetitive bidding on the Illinois Tollway has cost toll payers more than $1 billion since 2005 
  • At the Department of Transportation, uncompetitive bidding costs taxpayers more than $100 million per year
  • Reforming prevailing wage laws could save Illinois schools nearly $160 million every year
“Empowerment means giving governments the ability to lower costs by reforming project labor agreements and prevailing wage requirements that block true competitive bidding,” Rauner said. We must restructure the bidding for construction projects at every level of government because reforms will save taxpayers billions. And we can reinvest those billions in even more capital projects to help our schools and our communities.”

The ABC Illinois Chapter supported Rauner’s commitment to improving the business environment because Illinois continues to rank among the least business friendly states in the country and their economy consistently has lagged the rest of the country in recovering from the recession.

“The combination of poorly crafted tax and regulatory policies and wasted taxpayer money has been bad for the construction industry, bad for employees and job seekers and bad for our economy as a whole,” said ABC Illinois Chapter President Alicia Martin.” We applaud the governor’s pledge to protect scarce taxpayer dollars through opposing wasteful project labor agreement mandates and limiting prevailing wage requirements that drive up construction costs to taxpayers and look forward to working with his administration to help foster a regulatory and tax environment that will promote economic growth.”