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Washington, DC, Mayor Vincent Gray has vetoed a bill passed by the City Council that would have created a so-called "living wage" that would have mandated that certain retailers pay a so-called living wage of $12.50 an hour, The DC minimum wage is $8.25.

The bill was seen as a direct - and even union-driven - attack on Walmart, which had announced plans to open as many as six stores in the district.

The Wall Street Journal reports that "in a letter to the bill's sponsor explaining his decision, Mr. Gray called this measure impractical and ineffective but said he would work on alternative legislation to raise Washington's minimum wage.> And, in an interview, Gray called the bill a "job killer."

It remains possible that the bill could still become law, if the Council overrides the veto. The original bill passed 8-5, and nine votes would be required for an override.

According to the story, "The legislation, which defines 'large retailers' as those whose parent company's annual revenue exceeds $1 billion and whose stores occupy 75,000 square feet or more, would target new stores initially. Existing stores, including Macy's, Target and Home Depot, would have four years before they would pay the higher wages."

The Washington Post reports that with the veto, Walmart "is moving ahead with plans to open at least five stores in the city. Three stores are under construction already and two others are in advanced stages of planning. Wal-Mart still wants to open a store at the corner of New York Avenue and Bladensburg Road in Northeast D.C., but a developer’s plan to build a shopping center there has fallen apart."
KC's View:
I continue to believe that it does not make sense to have one set of rules for one level of retailers, and another set for a different set. I just think you get yourself in trouble that way, because it results in a kind of discrimination that unfairly targets people and companies that have been more successful.

But if I disagree with the legislative approach to solving the problem, I remain concerned about the problem - people who work very hard, for 40-50 hours a week, and cannot afford to support their families. In the long run, this may be an unsustainable trend that is not good for the culture. Or the economy.