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D.C. Mayor Gray Vetoes 'Living Wage' Bill

WI Web Staff | 9/12/2013, 11:30 a.m.
Vincent C. Gray (D)

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray announced Thursday that he has vetoed the bill that would require the city’s largest retailers, including Wal-Mart, to pay higher wages, calling the bill a "job-killer."

Gray said the Large Retailer Accountability Act is a "woefully inadequate and flawed vehicle" that it would actually harm job growth and economic development.

"In listening to the well-intentioned voices expressing support for the bill, I have repeatedly heard a number of fundamental misunderstandings about what the legislation would actually do and what its enactment into law would mean for District residents," he said in a statement.

"The bill is not a true living-wage bill, because it would raise the minimum wage only for a small fraction of the District’s workforce," he said.

Gray's veto was partly based on his contention that the bill didn't guarantee city residents would get any of the employment opportunities the bill may have generated.

Gray called for a reasonable increase in D.C.'s minimum wage that would affect workers and employers in an equitable fashion.

"Even if the bill did somehow end up creating a small number of higher-paying jobs, it does nothing to ensure that those jobs would actually be filled by District residents … This bill does nothing to help underserved parts of the District," he said.

The District's minimum wage is $8.25 an hour. The Large Retailer Accountability Act would generally apply to large retail companies like Wal-Mart and Target and not to small businesses.

The bill passed the D.C. Council, 8-5, on July 10.