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Funding roads and bridges pays off

April 8, 2013

To the editor: As our Minnesota winter turns into spring, we can be sure that construction season is around the corner....

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(40)

GopherState

Apr-08-13 7:31 AM

Also, remind your legislators that the prevailing wage laws need to be thoroughly enforced so that the state's money benefits the workers and not just the management. The best way to keep people off public assistance is to make sure that those who work hard get compensated fairly. Prevailing wage, originally a Republican law, also ensures that northern companies can compete with cheap southern labor and that the money benefits our residents.

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deerhunt

Apr-08-13 9:23 AM

Gopher , How does paying people $30-50/hour for jobs that typically run 1/2 that value benefit the taxpayer? Doesn't this just benefit a few select people? Wouldn't the taxpayer prefer to get the best value for his dollar ? I would prefer to do more roads and infrastructure with the same amount of money instead of paying inflated wages to make an even playing field. If you were going to buy a car and it was 2/3 the price at a different dealership , would you go to the more expensive one ?

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TURBO75

Apr-08-13 11:03 AM

If the pay is so great and the job so easy, why don't you apply for a job Deerhunt, is it because you are not qualified, or do you not want to give up your social life from April thru Nov.?

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deerhunt

Apr-08-13 11:42 AM

Turbo - I have worked 50-60 hours a week my whole life (year around), I am probably overqualified to do the job ( but it would not be beneath me if I needed work). I have done everything from basic skills to management,may I ask what you do from Dec. - March? Please answer my question as to would you pay more for a pickup at a different dealership so that maybe your friend that works their is better off? There is alot of people that work hard for a living ,they never get the oppurtunity for these enhanced wages,how is that fair to them if they are the ones paying for it? You expect them to suffer financially so that a few can be rewarded? Would it not make more sense to get the best bang for the buck and reward everyone?

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TURBO75

Apr-08-13 1:05 PM

Wage inequality is part of our capitalist society, if you do not like your wage scale, it is up to you to make changes. From Nov. thru March I draw unemployment and spend it all on booze and hookers. Great job.

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GopherState

Apr-08-13 2:00 PM

Deerhunt, when people are paid decent wages, it brings out a better work ethic, retains good employees, keeps families off of public subsidies, provides for retirement plans, etc.

I have worked prevailing wage and not. The major difference was that the boss man kept more money for himself if he wasn't paying prevailing wage. How does keeping your employees poor help the taxpayers? Yes, the boss should certainly make more, but to what extent.

As for cars, I choose Fords and GMs over KIAs, even though they cost more. Same with working people.

Look at Menards, many of the contractors were from out of state. What good did that do for our local economy. Now pretend it was a state job being paid for by the residents of our fair city. What good does it do to send the money out of Minnesota?

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GopherState

Apr-08-13 2:02 PM

When companies like Mathiowetz regularly try to influence our legislators to change the prevailing wage laws so that they can pay their workers less and keep more money at the top, that does little good to the economy, or in keeping a skilled workforce.

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deerhunt

Apr-08-13 2:37 PM

Gopher and Turbo , you did little to convince me that me and my fellow taxpayers should pay you more for something that you normally do for less. It's taxpayer money that pays your extra wage , as far as the contractor he also makes more because they generally work on percentages when figuring quotes. You are only hurting the working class that pays your wages -keep up the good work. Under your idea , let's pay the Walmart worker $30 /hour to check us out,pay the waitress $40/hour to feed you , and we will just tax everybody for it. When we run out of tax revenue we can start printing more money to pay for it, you two should get a job working for the government.

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TURBO75

Apr-08-13 3:46 PM

Deerhunt, under your idea let's pay the doctor, the lawyer, airline pilots, road designers and builders the Wal-mart wage. The new airplanes pretty much fly themselves, with all the info on the web you can pretty much do your own lawyering and doctoring. Let's extend the Wal-Mart wages to all jobs, including yours. Have you noticed that Wal-Mart only advertises low prices, never quality. You get what you pay for.

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deerhunt

Apr-08-13 4:04 PM

Turbo- how do you plan on doing surgery on yourself,represent yourself in court- maybe Gopher can give you a hand with that. Your right , let's pay everybody double their wage ( not just road construction)and tax everybody for it. Or wait , would that be taking it out of our back pocket and putting it in our front pocket , except we would let the government play with it in the mean time. How is taxing ourselves more so we can pay our selves more make any sense. Or maybe we will just tax the rich some more, or we can print more money . Fantasy Land. We are already 16.5 trillion in debt ,you could tax the rich 100% of their income and you won't pay it back ,eventually the average guy pays as usual. We need cost savings in government , not more expenses.

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JReader

Apr-08-13 4:38 PM

Why can't the market dictate the "prevailing wage" ? If a business pays it's workers too low guess what - they leave. A worker will get paid based on the skills they bring to the job. If a business wants to attract and keep good workers they need to pay a wage determined by market and not some arbitrary number cooked up by bureacrats and labor bosses.

Of course when there's government gravey money involved everyone should be able to cash in on the taxpayer. There's no real victim here - right ?

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GopherState

Apr-09-13 2:39 AM

So you would rather a worker with a green card take your job? You fail to understand that we have a higher standard of living than southerners. If they come up here and take all the jobs and we all end up on unemployment, who pays for that? Are they going to pay my property taxes, too?

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GopherState

Apr-09-13 2:42 AM

Deer hunt, prevailing wage does not give me a raise. I make no more on prevailing wage jobs. What it does is force companies with unskilled, cheap labor to pay workers at a rate that levels the playing field so that the good contractors have a fair shot with skilled labor.

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GopherState

Apr-09-13 2:43 AM

Skilled labor isn't cheap.

Cheap labor isn't skilled.

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GopherState

Apr-09-13 2:51 AM

You need to understand that a contractor employing skilled labor often does not charge a whole lot more than one who has a crew full of green cards. Why do you think so many companies were hiring Hispanics to reshingle so many houses a few years ago. Were they passing the savings on to the customer? No. Were they telling the insurance company that they had cheap labor and didn't need the whole check? No. They put the money in their pockets. When their workers' families needed to see a doctor, guess who paid for that....the taxpayer, because they qualified as low income.

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JReader

Apr-09-13 8:29 AM

What level of skill does someone who carries a green card typically have ?

It sounds to me you think someone who is white should automatically get paid more just because of the color of their skin. We've been down that road before and there is no need to go back there again.

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Integrity

Apr-09-13 8:30 AM

Generally speaking, if you reward someone for something that isn't necessarily earned by merit, or some other measurable increase of production (worked more hours, more dependable, loyal, learned new skills, improved current production/skills, etc), an employer runs the risk, over time, of ending up with expected rewards for the same level of production, or less. My point-you can't just increase their reward because you can. This will breed dependence, entitlement. Who here thinks many city workers are over-paid, under worked? They already have the stereotype. Contracts dictate raises, no goals of production for raises/benefits, job stability without proof of production(basically tenure).

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Integrity

Apr-09-13 8:48 AM

Gopher: one quick comment about the storm shingling. The only way these storm chasers or locals with Hispanic subsidized crews made ANY money is because people CHOSE to hire them. No govt mandate assigned these crews to houses. I think that's a bad example to use in this case.

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deerhunt

Apr-09-13 9:10 AM

Gopher , was there an abundance of the "regular " workforce lined up to do the shingling? As I recall it was hard to find people to do the work. As far as the hispanic workforce , from what I saw they worked sunup to sundown in any weather condition. I can't verify the quality of their work , but I didn't hear any complaints.My hats off to these people , willing to do a job alot of people would not want to do. Funny with the high unemployment at the time that there would be any work for these migrant workers to do.

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GopherState

Apr-09-13 8:05 PM

Deer hunt, who took care of those workers' families when they went to the hospital? You, me, and every other taxpayer. Meanwhile, their boss gave a huge discount to every homeowner since his labor costs were low, right??? They told the insurance company that they only needed part of the check, right??? Of course not. Many of those roofs didn't need to be reshingled. Even the lumberyards said that, not that they minded the boost in sales. Those that did need new roofs could have spread that work among reputable contractors for up to two years.

So, back to that boss: what did he do with the money if the workers didn't get it, and the homeowner and insurance company didn't get it? He bought a new truck, wrote it off as a tax deduction and drives it around for personal use. Meanwhile, the taxpayer supports his workers' families.

The same applies to prevailing wage jobs. Companies that cheat the system still charge out the same rate, and the taxpayer picks up the public assistance.

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GopherState

Apr-09-13 8:09 PM

For the record, I have no problem with hardworking Hispanic roofers. The issue I take is when their employers use them for cheap labor, fail to provide good training, fail to verify employment eligibility, pay cash tax-free under the table. What happens if they don't have a green card and are injured on the job?

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deerhunt

Apr-10-13 7:39 AM

Gopher - why don't you become a business owner if there is so much money to be made? How do you know these workers were illegal? How do you know how much they were paid? Your making alot of assumptions , in reality they are going to be naturlalized shortly and it won't matter anyway. If there was so much money to be made you should have been out there doing it even as a part time job. The fact was there was not an abundance of workers out there willing to do the job in the timeframe that the customers wanted. That would be an oppurtunity for anyone wishing to make a dollar.The days of easy money are disappearing for everybody , the country is broke. We are all going to have to work harder and give up some things-if you think business is where all the money is at , by all means start your own .

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Integrity

Apr-10-13 8:45 AM

Those horrible, greedy bosses/owners you speak of only keep $.65 of every dollar they make. They get to keep the $.65 to pay for expensive employee benefits (mandated by the govt) like unemployment, workman's comp, soon to be health care, half of employee's social security/medicare, etc. Plus, most of these horrible business owners also pay (with the remaining $.65/dollar) vacation/sick time and other benefits. After all of that, the money they have left is vulnerable unless they can get deductions. Gopher-you've never taken questionable tax deductions?? Or pushed a deduction a little farther?? That's the American way-who wants to pay more taxes, business owner or employee?!? NOT ME. Now you have a little idea of how horrible these owners are.

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Integrity

Apr-10-13 8:48 AM

Oh, these horrible owners also have to pay all the government mandated (different per industry) insurance coverages, licenses. I'm sure those policies are cheap, most insurance is. Also, then, in the name of customer service (except accountants and lawyers) they many times donate their time to doing consultations, estimating that they will never get paid for (after hours or weekends too). Yeah, they really have it made!!

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JReader

Apr-10-13 10:11 AM

GopherState:

Anyone who breaks the law should face the consequences. That includes a boss who hires illegal workers or a union boss who takes illegal kickbacks.

If you know of roofers that did what you described how many of them did you turn in ? If you knew about it and did nothing you are just as guilty as they are.

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