WASHINGTON (AP) - The mayor in the nation's capital has vetoed legislation that would have forced Wal-Mart and other large retailers to pay their employees at least $12.50 an hour. Vincent Gray called the bill a "job killer" that would not advance the goal of a living wage for District of Columbia workers.
The bill put Washington at the center of a national debate on how far cities should go in trying to raise pay for low-wage workers -- and whether larger companies should be required to pay more.
Supporters included unions, clergy and other labor advocates. They said Wal-Mart could afford the higher wages. Opponents, however, argued that the bill unfairly singled out certain businesses and would have a chilling effect on economic development.
Wal-Mart fought the legislation vigorously, pledging not to build three of the six stores it has planned for Washington if the bill became law. But Gray, a Democrat, said the bill would have a much larger impact than many people realized.
The mayor said, quote, "The bill is a job-killer, because nearly every large retailer now considering opening a store in the District has indicated they would not come here or expand here if this bill becomes law."
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