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Archive for Sunday, March 30, 2003

Wage impact

March 30, 2003

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To the editor:

The three Progressive Lawrence Coalition candidates are clearly in favor of a local "living wage" ordinance.

Our labor pool is diminishing, and the cost of labor is increasing. Businesses have two ways to compensate for increased costs. The first is to raise the price of the products they sell to the consumer. The burger at your local fast food restaurant will cost more, as well as your groceries and clothing. And, not just one of these will increase; they will all increase. In short, costs of goods and services will increase.

The second way for businesses to compensate is to reduce expenses. One way businesses can accomplish this is through downsizing. This could result in you and/or your neighbor losing your job. Another way is to eliminate community contributions.

If a local minimum wage is mandated for any company doing business with the city or school district, or if a local minimum wage is mandated for a company receiving economic development incentives, how much longer will it be before the city, school, county, the University of Kansas and the local merchant will be required to pay a mandated local minimum wage? It won't be long before they are required to compete for employees with the new wage structure.

The repercussions of a local "living wage" are far-reaching and can affect the long-term health of our community. Consider that on April 1.

Ron Miller,

Lawrence

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