D.C. Avoids Job-Killing Minimum Wage Increase
Hundreds of Retail Jobs Saved with Mayor's Veto
(Washington, D.C.) – District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray recently vetoed legislation that would require large retailers in the District to pay employees a "living wage" of at least $12.50 per hour. The bill included an exception for companies that collectively bargain with unionized workers. The veto came after Walmart – which had reportedly planned to open as many as six stores in the city – announced that they would not do so if the legislation was enacted. Reports indicate that Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Wegmans, Lowe's, Walgreens, Harris Teeter, AutoZone and Macy's are among the employers who have said they would reconsider expanding or opening in the District if this bill was enacted. The effect of this legislation would likely have been the elimination of hundreds of jobs for low-skill residents of the District and its close-in suburbs, as minimum wage increases typically hurt the very people they are supposed to help.
Daniel Garza, Executive Director of The LIBRE Initiative released the following statement:
"This is a prime example of the effects of burdensome regulations on businesses. Government mandates like the minimum wage sound attractive, but wind up encouraging businesses to replace workers with technology, or take their business elsewhere – as we saw in our nation's capital. With an unemployment rate of 8.6 percent and rising, D.C. residents can't afford to lose those jobs. The best way to make sure people have the opportunity to find work – and then earn higher wages – is through a healthy economy.
While minimum wage laws may be well intentioned, anytime government mandates increases in the price of labor, massive decreases in badly needed private sector jobs automatically follow – hurting Americans who need economic opportunities the most. The problem for millions of people is that taxes and regulation from Washington are hurting an already weak economy. It is high time for the President and Congress to work together on a bipartisan plan that unleashes the creativity and talents of America's entrepreneurs. By reducing the burden that Washington imposes on job creators, we can offer real economic opportunity for struggling workers."