Wells Announces Plan for "Living Wage for All DC"

July 19, 2013

(Washington, D.C.) - Today, Tommy Wells announced plans to introduce legislation he is calling the "Living Wage for All DC."   While he has been a long-standing advocate of a living wage for District residents and workers, last week Wells voted against the Large Retailer Accountability Act.  In its place, Wells is proposing that the District adopt a comprehensive package of reforms as a responsible approach to create a living wage for all DC workers.

"I support a living wage for all DC workers and I believe we can - and should - do better than the bill the Council voted on last week," stated Wells.  "The Large Retailer bill did not create a living wage for DC - rather, it targeted a handful of big businesses instead of requiring a higher living wage for DC residents. It threatened to be a job killer, especially in neighborhoods where economic development and growth has lagged behind.

"I am proposing that the District create a living wage for all DC workers. To accomplish this, we must pass a comprehensive package of reforms - a smart, thoughtful, and strategic approach that recognizes both business and government have a responsibility to lift workers' wages."

Wells will introduce his bill in September when the District Council reconvenes. Wells' legislation would:

Increase the minimum wage over each of the next two years, and tie regular increases thereafter to an index that keeps up with the cost of living.

Significantly increase the District's standard deduction for personal income taxes. This approach targets relief to low- and moderate-income DC households and moves the city toward a more progressive tax code.

Increase the DC Employee Tax Credit for businesses with 150 employees or fewer, and lower the commercial property tax rate on small businesses to offset the cost to business of the rise in wages in a way that does not harm small businesses disproportionately, but asks larger employers with deeper resources to share the responsibility for a living wage for DC workers.

Create a new Healthy DC fee for any large employer that requires they pay into a healthcare fund if they do not pay employees (including part-time employees) a living wage rate and do not provide health insurance. Ensuring that large retailers share in the responsibility of protecting vulnerable residents' access to good healthcare.

"I ask you to join me in the fight for a living wage for all DC workers - a living wage that makes DC a great place to work, live and raise a family," said Wells.