Washington, D.C., mayor Vincent Gray finally bent to pressure from big retailers on Thursday (Sept. 12) by vetoing a bill that would have raised the district's minimum wage for some big retailers to at least $12.50 an hour.
The bill, known as the Large Retailer Accountability Act of 2013, passed the city council two months ago and would have required retailers with stores of at least 75,000 square feet and sales of $1 billion annually to pay a 50 percent premium on the minimum wage of $8.25 an hour.
Those who backed the law said stores like Walmart (NYSE:WMT) and Target (NYSE:TGT) could easily find the money if they were serious about getting into the D.C. market, but Gray said he considered the risk to job creation too great and that the bill would "result in significant harm to the residents and areas of the District most in need of jobs, economic development, and new amenities."
The National Retail Federation also released a statement on Thursday, saying that (contain your shock) they agreed with the mayor's decision. "The Mayor recognizes the positive role that retail plays in economic development, and retailers' unmatched ability to improve communities and provide desperately-needed jobs and careers," the NRF said. "[The mayor's] veto is a testament to the commitment he has to DC residents, especially young people."
The bill targeted several large retailers like Target and Home Depot (NYSE:HD), who opposed the bill. But it was Walmart that led the charge against it, threatening to cancel plans to open stores in the city if the bill was passed. The decision didn't exactly come out of left field, though, as Gray's staff had referred to the bill as a "job killer," according to Fox Business.
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