When the Large Retailer Accountability Act passed the D.C. Council last week with eight votes, LL was surprised that Tommy Wells wasn’t one of them.
Here’s one reason the Ward 6 councilmember might have held back: he has a living wage bill of his own. Wells announced this afternoon that he’s planning to introduce his “Living Wage for All DC” bill when the Council meets again in September.
Wells’ bill would double the District’s personal income tax deduction, while raising the city’s $8.25-an-hour minimum wage a dollar a year for two years, to $10.25. After that, the minimum wage would be tied to cost of living increases.
Where are District businesses going to get all this money? Wells’ bill would increase the employee tax credit for businesses with fewer than 150 employees, while dropping the commercial property tax rate from $1.65 to $1.50 on the initial $3 million in value on a property.
The large retailers pushing Mayor Vince Gray to veto the LRAA won’t be pleased with one portion of Wells’ bill: the “Healthy DC fee.” Large employer that don’t give their employees health insurance and a living wage would have to pay a fee to a health care fund, which Wells’ proposal suggests could be around $2,000 or $3,000 per employee. Wells hasn’t decided yet what the benchmark for a “living wage” should be, according to a spokesman.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery