02.20.2013 13

Chris Christie’s project labor no-brainer

By Bill Wilson — A Feb. 14 Wall Street Journal editorial calls on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to veto legislation that would require projects in state costing $5 million or more to utilize project labor agreements (PLAs), pointing to two studies that ought to give the Governor pause.

This is an important issue, not only because of the greater costs associated with PLAs, but politically has implications for Christie, who faces reelection this year and may run for president in 2016.

A conservative estimate by the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University has found that “PLAs increase the cost of construction by 12 percent to 18 percent,” comparing the period when PLAs were prohibited under federal law to when they were not.

That means if PLAs are used to repair the damage from Hurricane Sandy they will do so with less bang for the buck: anywhere from 10.7 percent to 15.2 percent less reconstruction would occur in New Jersey as a result.

New Jersey’s own Department of Labor and Workforce Development found that public school construction utilizing PLAs cost 30.5 percent more than non-PLA construction projects.

If accurate, that would mean an even worse 23.3 percent less reconstruction would occur if PLAs are utilized, hardly a responsible use of limited resources in the case of hurricane relief.

Moreover, the New Jersey study found that projects took considerably more time to complete. At a time when the citizens of New Jersey desperately long to get back to normal, construction delays combined with greater costs are simply unacceptable.

The simple math shows that PLAs are not in the public interest, nor that of taxpayers’. They are solely in the interest of labor organizations that will make more money if they are utilized.

This leaves Christie with the choice of favoring spending more money to achieve less, or to veto this legislation, achieving more for the taxpayers at a lower cost.

Politically, however, the decision could be more treacherous. Unions still have a strong presence in New Jersey, and Christie might want to boost his reelection prospects by throwing a bone to big labor. But doing so could be fatal to a 2016 presidential bid in the Republican primary.

But those waters are navigable. Christie built his reputation in 2009 by running as a fiscal conservative.  As the Journal editorial board notes, in 2009 Christie opposed PLAs, calling them “special interest labor union giveaways that increase spending and taxes.”

It would be inexplicable for Christie to now sign legislation that ensures union contracts would be more expensive, making a veto a no-brainer.

Bill Wilson is the President of Americans for Limited Government.

  • Bill, it would be cheaper to use slave labor, too. Why not advocate for that?

  • WhiteFalcon

    What he does here will tell us where he really stands. I have been losing faith in him over the past few months.

  • WhiteFalcon

    In case you haven’t heard, slavery ended in this country some 150 years
    ago. Unions are one big problem we have in this country. They are one of the
    biggest reasons that Detroit is bankrupt, and also that California is bankrupt,
    and we will be seeing more of this before long. New Jersey is on the verge of
    bankruptcy and using union labor will simply hurry it along.

  • leebo13

    This RINO has already shown his true colors when he put his big fat arms around his new best pal Obama, and stuck his pudgy finger in Romney’s eye. Thusly thumbing his nose at the Republicans and Conservatives

  • pduffy

    It takes time to expose a RINO. Sometimes it takes decades like in the case of judge Kennedy, and Senator Arlen Specter. But at the right time, and when the chips are down, they POP OUT, and do the most damage. Bribes will be taken, and kickbacks put in place, this is how the game is played with man’s corrupt government. America is the image of the old Roman empire – corrupt to the core, it will fall because of it’s own debachery, not because of a foreign enemy. We have destroyed ourselves, and have nobody else to blame.

  • Christie has already shown some SERIOUS RINO SKIN. Watch closely. Today, he wouldn’t get my primary vote for potus.

  • Cut to the chase and quit hiding the FACTS. Unions and the government increase the cost of ANYTHING they touch or are involved in exponentially 100% of the time.

  • Barak oblunder’s statement “I propose working with states to make high-quality preschool available to every single child in America.” We already HAVE high quality education. The problem is the government does NOT control it. It is private and charter schools.
    Read more at NetRightDaily.com: http://netrightdaily.com/2013/02/chris-christies-project-labor-no-brainer/#ixzz2LTNVnLQi

  • Poppo

    There was a time that I thought Christie was a basically good guy with a few problems. Wow, was I wrong. This guy is dangerous!

  • seminole dog

    Christie helped obama get re-elected, he is a closet obama supporter and I would not be surprised if he switched parties. At least if he did he would be better than colin powell.

  • geeshim

    Grow up.

  • Sgt. York

    could Christie be gettin fatter with more Union Contracts? Glad tho his true face has come out before the election,if we have one.

  • Considering this phony-bologny, I’m laying just 5 to 1 that he caves like the rest of the feckless, impotent, non-existent “Re-PUNK-lican” party!

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