In a moment of economic lucidity, Pittsburgh’s Mayor on December 31 vetoed the so called "prevailing wage" bill Council passed in the waning days of 2009. The late veto made it impossible for Council to put together the votes needed to overturn the veto.
The legislation, a last minute Christmas gift to labor unions, was passed on December 21. That opened the opportunity for the Mayor to veto the bill on the last day of the year. One wonders about the Council’s rush to pass the bill in the last few days with the very real threat of a last minute veto hanging over the process. Was all this carefully choreographed as a Council sop to the unions that was never meant to be put into effect? We will know if Council revives the bill in 2010 and overturns another veto.
The bottom line is the prevailing wage bill was terrible legislation and the Mayor’s reasons for vetoing it were extremely logical. It would have made Pittsburgh even less competitive for attracting companies and investment into the City by aggressively interfering in the market’s ability to set wages through supply and demand.
More devastating, it would have sent yet another signal to the local, national and global business communities that Pittsburgh is slipping deeper into an anti-free market, statist approach to public policy.
We can only hope this poorly thought out and insidious bill never sees the light of day again.