It was reported in July that there are councillors in D.C. that would mandate big-box retailers to pay their workers a higher minimum wage. Cited as a “living wage,” this legislation would have affected many retailers, such as Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Target, Walgreens and Autozone.
Democratic Mayor Vincent Gray announced Thursday that he has vetoed the bill, otherwise known as Large Retailer Accountability Act, which would have forced these large retailers to pay its employees a minimum of $12.50 per hour. Gray argued that this bill would have only benefitted a small number of people and would be a job-killer.
“I am vetoing this legislation precisely because I believe in providing a living wage to as many District residents as possible – and this bill is not a true living-wage measure,” Gray wrote in a statement. “While the intentions of its supporters were good, this bill is simply a woefully inadequate and flawed vehicle for achieving the goal we all share.”
When the bill was being debated on in July, it passed eight to five and was only one vote short to maintain the power to override a veto. Councillors in support of the law are now trying to get one of their colleagues to adjust their vote.
After Wal-Mart announced that it would scrap its plans to establish stores in parts of the city, Gray made his reservations known, especially considering that Wal-Mart would have ended its stores in two majority-black, unemployed communities. The mayor also argued that it would limit retail options for consumers.
“The bill will not modestly delay economic development in underserved District neighborhoods long deprived of jobs and retail amenities; it will kill economic development in these communities for a generation,” Gray added.
Nevertheless, Wal-Mart commended the mayor for his announcement.
“Mayor Gray has chosen jobs, economic development and common sense over special interests – and that’s good news for D.C. residents,” Wal-Mart spokesman Steven Restivo said in a statement. Now that this discriminatory legislation is behind us, we will move forward on our first stores in our nation’s capital.”
Economic Collapse News has reported extensively on the negative effects of minimum wage.