Assembly approves prevailing wage requirement for construction projects awarded state tax credits
STATE HOUSE – The General Assembly today approved legislation sponsored by Rep. Brandon Potter and Sen. Meghan E. Kallman requiring construction projects worth more than $10 million that receive state tax credits through the Rebuild RI or historic preservation programs to pay their construction workers the prevailing wage.
The legislation, which now heads to the governor, is intended to ensure that projects funded with state tax credits provide fair wages to their employees.
“When we award state tax credits to a project, we are making a public investment in it. Rhode Islanders expect state funds to be spent in a way that corresponds with our values, and one of those values has consistently been fair wages for workers. If we are supporting a construction project, it should pay its workers — our neighbors — a decent, fair wage,” said Representative Potter (D-Dist. 16, Cranston).
Said Senator Kallman (D-Dist. 15, Pawtucket, North Providence), “Job creation is among the purposes of our tax credits for development. The jobs we are helping to create are supporting Rhode Islanders and their families, and it’s in our state’s interest ensure that those jobs pay family-sustaining wages. With this bill, our state is helping to guarantee good wages to hardworking Rhode Islanders in the construction industry.”
The legislation (2022-H 7985A, 2022-S 2551B) applies only to projects valued at more than $10 million that benefit from the Rebuild Rhode Island or historic preservation tax credit programs. To ensure compliance, contractors and subcontractors on those projects would be required to file certified payrolls on a monthly basis with the Department of Labor and Training. Failure to comply with the requirements of the act would constitute a material breach of contract with the state.
The bill defines “construction worker” as any laborer, mechanic, or machine operator employed by a contractor or subcontractor in connection with the construction, alteration, repair, demolition, reconstruction, or other improvements to real property.