- Associated Press - Thursday, May 5, 2016

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia has eliminated its prevailing wage for new public construction projects.

The repeal passed this winter by the Republican-led Legislature took effect Thursday. Lawmakers overrode a veto by Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, which required a simple majority of the Legislature.

Republicans believe the wage is inflated and said repealing it will save taxpayer money. Democrats said the repeal won’t produce savings, but will reduce pay and benefit out-of-state contractors.

Unions starkly opposed the repeal, though the wage applies to union and non-union contracts.

The repeal applies to new public construction contracts from Thursday onward. Existing contracts aren’t affected.

A 2015 law eliminated the prevailing wage for projects costing $500,000 or less and let Tomblin’s administration change how the wage was calculated. GOP leaders weren’t happy with the recalculation.

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