Thursday, May 27, 2010

'Living Wage' Kills Projects, Mayor Bloomberg Says by Erin Einhorn and Adam Lisberg - NY Daily News

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Mayor Bloomberg scoffed Monday at a plan requiring a $10 hourly minimum wage for jobs in city-subsidized developments, saying companies can't afford it.

"It's a nice idea but is poorly thought out and will not work," he said. "The economics don't work if you have to pay more."

The so-called "living wage" requirement, to be introduced today in the City Council, is aimed at jobs in shopping centers and other projects that get city money.

Many of those jobs pay the state minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, but a coalition of unions and politicians says that isn't enough to keep a family out of poverty.

They want projects that receive city tax breaks, low-cost land or other development deals to require hourly wages starting at $10 an hour - or $11.50 if they don't include benefits.

"If you're going to do business in the City of New York and you receive a subsidy from the City of New York, what is the minimum expectation that we're asking of you in terms of what you're giving back?" asked Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito at a Drum Major Institute forum on wage levels.

The Related Cos.' plan to redevelop the Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx foundered in the Council last year after it refused to agree to a higher minimum wage for workers there in exchange for $14 million in city subsidies.

Supporters say the bill would replace project-by-project bickering with a single citywide standard for developments that accept more than $100,000 in city aid.

With Frank Lombardi