JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The way Missouri calculates the minimum wage for public works projects needs to change — but that's where the agreement ends for critics and supporters of Republican proposals aimed at reworking the calculating process.

Lawmakers were considering two proposals Tuesday that would change the state's "prevailing wage," which is the pay rate that cities, counties and other governmental entities must pay for construction projects. The rate is usually higher than the state minimum wage, though it varies by occupation and location.

Currently, the pay rate is calculated by the state's labor department using voluntary wage surveys sent in by labor unions and private contractors. But Republican senators from rural parts of Missouri said that results in a wage far higher than typical wages in their areas, which means projects can be too expensive for municipalities and school districts — and needs go unmet.

"If (local governments) could get things done cheaper, they would do them," Sen. Jay Wasson, R-Nixa, said during a packed Senate committee hearing on the proposals.

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