In Criticizing Living Wage Report, Liu Says ‘It May Curtail Number of New Minimum Wage Jobs’

A new report by the city Economic Development Corporation says requiring a “living wage” for jobs that get public subsidies would hurt the city’s economy.

City Comptroller John Liu was quick to issue a statement denouncing the report — saying it “shows just how distorted the agency’s operations have become.”

But the comptroller then goes on to say the legislation “It may curtail the number of new minimum
wage jobs, with the hope that these new jobs would then pay a decent wage.”

Acknowledging that the bill “may curtail the number of new minimum wage jobs” may make some living wage advocates wince.

The executive summary in the EDC report says that while “the number of workers receiving wage increases is higher than the number of workers experiencing job loss, the aggregate effect on the distribution of income is negligible.”

A spokesman for Liu’s office told me the main message in the statement is to refute the overall premise of the EDC report and underscore the fact that the low-wage jobs affected by this bill will be replaced with better paying ones.

Here’s the full statement from Liu.

The EDC’s claim that a living wage kills jobs shows just how distorted the agency’s operations have become.  The proposed living wage would be a requirement on new projects that are heavily subsidized by taxpayers.  It may curtail the number of new minimum wage jobs, with the hope that these new jobs would then pay a decent wage.  The claim of job losses is rhetoric at its worst.

Liu had raised questions about the consultants doing the report when they were awarded the project back in June of last year. In Criticizing Living Wage Report, Liu Says ‘It May Curtail Number of New Minimum Wage Jobs’