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North Texas Industry Leaders Mull Over Options on Payroll Fraud

Construction industry leaders in North Texas have started the process of figuring out what kind of payroll fraud crackdown they could possibly support.

Members of the Government Affairs Committee of TEXO in Dallas/Fort Worth met to talk about their legislative priorities on Monday and by all accounts they had a lively discussion about the issue of worker misclassification.  Comprised of members from throughout North Texas, TEXO is one of the largest construction industry trade associations in the state.

Jack Baxley, TEXO Vice President of Government Affairs, told me members of the group are still mulling their options and they'll hopefully have recommendations ready by the end of the month.  “This isn't something that just popped up today,” he said while noting that TEXO wants to make sure that any legislation passed is good for the industry.

Industry insiders tell Construction Citizen that if there's going to be a real change at the state level, various local trade groups will have to be on the same page.  While some may find the status quo acceptable, others want a seat at the table as Senator John Carona, R-Dallas, begins to craft legislation.

David Bloxom, President of Speed Fab-Crete in Fort Worth, said the key is finding a way to craft legislation that doesn't create a bureaucratic mess for the companies that are already classifying their workers correctly.  “Sometimes it gets to be a burden to the people who are doing it right, and the people who are doing it wrong just don't give a damn,” Bloxom said.  “There always seems to be a way for unethical people to get around the law.  We have to stop that from happening.”

Bloxom said his company has been underbid on several jobs by unethical contractors that commit payroll fraud.  He added that increased media coverage of the issue has raised awareness within the industry and with lawmakers.  “I think there are a lot of people who are aware of it now on both the general contractor level and subcontractor level who want a level playing field.  They're tired of all this circumvention of the law,” Bloxom said.

Another meeting with some members of the TEXO Government Affairs committee is planned for next week.

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