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Eastpointe "Living Wage" Ordinance to Face Voters

5/11/2001
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Diane Barnes
(810) 202-5817
(810) 774-1625

"Now the taxpayers will decide how to spend their money," said Diane Barnes who organized a petition drive to force the Eastpointe City Council to put the "Living Wage" ordinance it passed unanimously last month on the ballot this fall.

The signatures of more than the minimum 286 registered voters needed to challenge the city council's action were certified by the city clerk last Wednesday. The council must now reconsider the "Living Wage" ordinance at its next meeting on May 15. At that time they must either rescind the ordinance or else schedule a vote on the next election ballot (either in September if the city has a primary to narrow a field of local candidates for the November election, or in November if no primary is needed).

The ordinance as passed requires companies that receive $5000.00 or more in local taxpayer money -- either through contracts or subsidies -- to pay all of their workers a "Living Wage" of at least $8.50 per hour or $11.00 per hour for companies that do not provide health benefits.

"We, the taxpayers, will bear the cost through higher taxes, loss of city services, or city employee job cuts," Barnes asserted.

She has substantial research and statistical support for her position, including authoritative studies done by credible organizations such as the Employment Policies Institute, the Nebraska Center for Policy Research, and Michigan's own Mackinac Center. All have concluded that "Living Wage" ordinances cost residents through higher taxes and/or reduced services, cost all affected employers (including those already paying more than the mandated minimum) additional administrative costs, and cost young people and the working poor jobs, for the sake of artificially inflating the wage scales of organized labor unions.

"We need to have clear answers as to why such a policy is good for everyone in the community," Barnes concluded, "and not just special interests."

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