Leah Vukmir

Leah Vukmir

As President Donald Trump encourages investing in our workforce to repair our roads, airports and bridges, he should also look to Wisconsin’s conservative reforms.

Here, Republicans have moved our state forward with changes that promote freedom and competition, including some of the country’s most sweeping reforms — Act 10 and Right to Work. Voters have rewarded conservatives for their bold leadership because they’ve seen how the results have made Wisconsin stronger.

It’s clear that for business to thrive in America, government must create a friendly climate for jobs. Tax reform was step one, and I applaud President Trump and Congressional Republicans for this major accomplishment. But now, the country’s eyes look toward investing in infrastructure.

One of the most significant ways the president could protect taxpayers in this package would be to repeal the Davis–Bacon Act of 1931, which established a flawed formula for establishing construction project wages.

When I led the charge to repeal the prevailing wage requirement for state and local government projects, Wisconsin was estimated to see almost $300 million in savings annually, per the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance. That’s just for any project that doesn’t use federal funds. Wisconsin would see additional savings if projects that use federal dollars didn’t mandate these artificially high wages.

The savings the federal government would see with the repeal of this law would be astronomical. By letting the free market and competition set costs, our tax dollars would stretch further, adding less to our national debt.

With just his signature, President Trump could also establish project–labor agreement neutrality. In 2009, President Obama signed an executive order, encouraging federal agencies to require that any construction bid include a project–labor agreement. This absurd hurdle practically ensures only union shops are able to compete for work on federal projects.

In Wisconsin, about five in six construction workers are non-union. To alienate these workers when putting together an infrastructure plan makes no sense. That’s why I authored the bill to create PLA fairness in Wisconsin, which became law last year. I encourage the president to take a page out of Wisconsin’s playbook and repeal Obama’s terrible executive order immediately.

While the president’s desire to make this infrastructure deal bipartisan is admirable, obstructionist Democrats in the Senate won’t be ready to vote for the good of the country over petty partisan politics.

Predictably, Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, is part of the problem because she won’t take Wisconsin’s solutions to Washington. Instead she is set on reversing any progress we’ve made. Sen. Baldwin agrees with Obama’s decision to favor a minority of union laborers over 80 percent of Wisconsin construction workers, and she would continue mismanaging taxpayer dollars by using an unsound method to set wages.

Conservative reforms are essential to passing this infrastructure package the right way. President Trump should work with Republicans to embrace Wisconsin’s solutions that will help him be a good steward of taxpayer dollars and encourage all workers to be a part of making our country great again.

Republican Leah Vukmir, Wauwatosa, represents Wisconsin’s 5th state Senate district and is a candidate for U.S. Senate.

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Tomah Journal editor

Steve Rundio is editor of the Tomah Journal. Contact him at 608-374-7785.

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