Bloomberg Snuffs New Living Wage Bill

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Fulfilling his promise, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has vetoed the first of two bills proposed by the City Council that would raise wages for hundreds of workers. The so-called living wage bill was a watered down version of the same bill proposed last year. The latest draft would force companies that receive $1 million or more in city subsidies to raise the pay rates of service workers such as janitors and security guards. Companies would only have to pay additional salary if they earn $5 million or more in revenue annually. Roughly 600 private sector service workers in 41 buildings were to be affected. Their wages would be boosted to $11.50 an hour, or $10 an hour with benefits. Minimum wage in New York is currently $7.25. Speaker Christine Quinn, a major proponent of the bills, argues that the wage bills would help low income earners gain entrance into the middle class. Mayor Bloomberg is set to veto the next bill, commonly called the prevailing wage bill, when it is introduced on April 30. Before he vetoed the living wage bill on Wednesday, he gave a 15 minute prepared speech where he called the legislation "a throwback to the era when the government viewed the private sector as a cash cow to be milked rather than a garden to be cultivated." The mayoral veto is expected to be overturned by the Council who initially passed the measure 46-4. Bloomberg fired back that he would take the Council to court to protect tax payers and business interests from what he sees as shaky legal ground. Hizzoner believes that raising the wage would limit job creation and damage businesses due to higher operating costs. In 2002, Mayor Bloomberg signed the largest wage legislation in modern history which affected some 60,000 workers. Workers such as health aides, day care workers, and some building service workers received a pay boost.

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