Charter cities have more autonomy can’t be easily compelled to abide by certain state laws. But that doesn’t mean lawmakers can’t try.
Senators Darrel Steinberg and Anthony Cannella are pushing a bill that would withhold state funds from any charter city that doesn’t pay the prevailing wage. Democrat Steinberg said he knows it presents the cities with a difficult choice.
“Both Senator Cannella and I believe that prevailing wage should be the uniform law in the state, regardless of that charter city distinction,” he said. “Now, since we can’t compel charter cities to do anything, we use a hard carrot here, and it is a hard carrot.”
Supporters say prevailing wages attract more skilled workers and lead to superior projects.
The League of California Cities is opposing the legislation. It doesn’t have a problem if cities choose to enact a prevailing wage requirement. But the organization’s Dan Carrigg said compelling them to act sets a bad precedent.
“If this tactic is successful, there are plenty of bills going around this legislature every year that there’s an effort to apply the bill to charter cities,” he said.
There are 121 charter cities in California, including the state’s four largest.