By Scott Tibbs, February 28, 2005
The Herald-Times reports on City Councilor David Sabbagh's issues with the "living wage" ordinance that has been a hot topic since the 2003 city elections:
|(Sabbagh) also faulted what he called "bad public policy" from its scope to wages — which he said would be better set at $15-20. Furthermore, Sabbagh said he was concerned about the cost to the city and organizations affected by the ordinance.|
Sabbagh is making no sense. First, he says that the wage should be higher, and then he says he is concerned about the cost of it. Increasing the wage to what Sabbagh says it should be would dramatically increase the cost to the city.
If Sabbagh has concerns about the cost of the ordinance, why is he saying it would be better if the mandated wages were higher? It sounds like he is trying to be on both sides of the issue.
As to the ordinance itself, I do not have a problem with applying a "living wage" to city workers. I do not think it should apply to businesses that do business with or get a subsidy from the city.
Of course, a business that accepts a contract from the city has a choice of whether or not to accept a that contract and the terms that go with it. I think that, rather than an ordinance mandating a living wage, the city should consider giving preferential treatment to companies that treat their employees well.
I have a bigger problem with applying this to nonprofits. While I would shed no tears if Planned Parenthood lost a few dollars as a result of this ordinance I do not want to see other already-struggling nonprofits hurt.