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Do you think Lawrence’s living wage ordinance hurts the state economy?

Asked at Borders, 700 N.H. on February 16, 2005

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Photo of Amy Diederich

“I don’t think so. If employees are getting paid more, then they will be more satisfied with their work, which will be good for business. The extra money they make will go back into the economy.”

Photo of John Hulsey

“No. This is a way for working people to get ahead. It seems that no one will voluntarily pay their workers more, but the more they have to spend the better the local economy will be.”

Photo of Jason Caudle

“I don’t think so. It seems to me that if people are earning a living wage from outside corporations, that spending that money will help the state economy.”

Photo of Anastasia Kolobrodova

“Yes. The city just likes to impose ordinances like this and the smoking ban without considering the economic ramifications.”


mrcairo 13 years, 3 months ago

It's all Politics man - Politics...


From the Greek Poly, meaning "MANY" From the Greek Tics, meaning "BLOOD SUCKING"

Richard Heckler 13 years, 3 months ago

I would say the answer is no. Who is this organization from somewhere? Did Jim Ryun send them here from Washington D.C. as he was bitching about the living wage? Oops excuse me that was his campaign manager.

Hell they don't live in Kansas how would they know? Perhaps it's the same people in our legislature who are promoting Intelligent Design, cannot put together a school funding package together and are way too concerned about other peoples lifestyles that brought these wise guys to Kansas.

A living wage is not the problem. How about the over paid CEO's who walk away with a $21 million severance packaged after being fired? Mergers that put people out of work?

This out of state organization is going to be very busy this year

NFIB Launches State Economic Studies Release Date: 02/ 14/ 2005 The National Federation of Independent Business, long known for its excellent economic research on the state of small business, will launch a new study March 1. Designed to show the current small-business business climate in 26 selected states, NFIB's Small-Business Conditions report will be of interest to small-business owners, the media, lawmakers and researchers, says William J. Dennis, senior research fellow at the NFIB Research Foundation. "The Small-Business Conditions report is a unique study," Dennis said. "It is similar to our monthly nationwide Small Business Economic Trends report, and we believe these statewide reports will quickly become a reference tool for lawmakers and others who need to keep their fingers on the pulse of the small-business economy." In 2005, quarterly reports will be issued March 1, June 1, Sept. 1 and Dec. 1, for the following states: Arizona California Colorado Connecticut Florida Georgia Illinois Indiana Iowa Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Missouri New Jersey New York North Carolina Ohio Oregon Pennsylvania South Carolina Tennessee Texas Virginia Washington Wisconsin

KANSAS IS NOT ON THIS LIST. I GUESS THEY WERE JUST PASSING THROUGH. For each survey, 350 small-business owners will be interviewed about their opinion on current economic conditions in the state. The survey considers a small-business owner to be anyone employing from one to 250 people. California, Florida and Texas are divided into regions and each region will be comprised of 350 small-business owners for the survey. "The success of small business is driving the nation's economy and the small-business community is creating two-thirds of America's new jobs," said NFIB President and CEO Jack Faris. "The Small-Business Conditions project allows NFIB to more closely examine the condition of the small-business climate in a particular state and provide an up-to-date analysis that is specific to these states."

kansas 13 years, 3 months ago

I don't think it would hurt the rest of the State. The only reason why it exists here is because for quite a while now it has been extremely difficult to work some 7 or 8 dollar an hour job and afford to live here! I wouldn't put Lawrence in the same category as many of the smaller cities and towns that dot the Kansas landscape. Seriously, if I were the mayor of a town out in western Kansas somewhere, I wouldn't be too concerned about the success of this idea here in Lawrence.

tell_it_like_it_is 13 years, 3 months ago

I think its great and I don't see how it sould hurt the rest of the state. I wish my home town would adopt the same thing. To many times they have provided tax abatments to businesses only to find that all they provide are minumum wage s**ty jobs with no benefits what so ever. Then half the time they go bankrupt and leave in a couple of years anyway.

Bad_Brad 13 years, 3 months ago

The living wage sounds good in principle, and there's no doubt that there are some people who it would benefit.

What so many people miss in this argument is that career progression is a dynamic thing. True, it's hard to live on 6 or 7 bucks an hour in a place like Lawrence (although I did for a couple of years right out of college), but the thing is, for the majority of people that 6 or 7 dollar per hour job is not a final destination. Would it have been nice to make 9 or 10 bucks an hour instead of 7? Yes. But I also recognize that, if the living wage was in effect, the 7 dollar an hour job I had coming out of college might not have even existed. If nothing else, it would have been more difficult to find and more people would have been competing for it.

The living wage law sounds good, but it is not a panacea.

optimist 13 years, 3 months ago

There are many issues relating to the living wage ordinance that were never addressed. The first issue is the fact that there is no flexibility in it. It ties the hands of future commissions. Rescinding it would be the only way they could deviate from it.

Not all companies start out big. The ordinance could prevent the city from helping a small local business from growing into a company that could eventually pay well above even the living wage threshold. The ordinance ensured that the only businesses that would grow and prosper in Lawrence are those that are heavily backed. "Big business" entities that pay their CEO's huge salaries and give little back to the community. The companies many who post here like to demonize.

The second issue is the reality of the first impression. I for one agree strongly with the premise that tax abatements should be reserved form companies who better Lawrence. When companies begin their search for a location to expand their enterprise they look for a number of factors. Business friendly environment, quality of life, workforce availability and quality, cost of living, etc. My fear is that good companies may get the impression that Lawrence is unfriendly to business as a result of a written ordinance and Lawrence may never get the chance to show them more than that. I think that's a shame.

The community could have achieved a similar result without an ordinance by continuing to elect representatives who hold these values to office to vote on these issues. That way Lawrence could decide whether or not we wanted to reject them rather than they reject us before ever getting to know Lawrence.

twiggle 13 years, 3 months ago

If I owned a business, and I was given a tax break to pay my workers a couple bucks more an hour, I'd do it.

It seems to me that paying a living wage is the only ethical way to do business. Otherwise, you're just exploiting desperate people for profit.

People generally want to believe in the cause for which they work (or the company), it makes them happier. It's hard to get excited about a job when the company doesn't care enough to pay you enough to live without government help. And while we're on that, we're paying for these people's needs who aren't getting a living wage anyway! I'm ok with welfare, but doesn't it seem that if we were to, I don't know, raise the standard wage for some of those low paying jobs that the government wouldn't have as many people who needed help! Thus lowering taxes (in theory, though with our defense budget... geez)... and putting more money into the economy... creating more jobs... and giving more people a living wage. The rest of us pay either way, be it in taxes or private company funds. Which way is better? I'm not sure.

Richard Heckler 13 years, 3 months ago

NFIB is also a PAC. They call their PAC: SAFE Trust

This is who they support: Incumbent US Sen Sam Brownback Incumbent KS-1 Jerry Moran
Incumbent KS-2 Jim Ryun Incumbent KS-4 Todd Tiahrt

wichita_reader 13 years, 3 months ago

Does Lawrence's living wage requirement hurt the state economy? Absolutely not. It might hurt Lawrence's economy, but not the state's.

Kansas has long been recognized as one of the most corporate friendly states. After all, our corporate laws are nearly a mirror image of Delaware's, the haven of big business. (There's a reason why so many credit card companies and other large corporations are headquartered in Delaware.)

The Kansas minimum wage is a joke. My wife has a teacher's assistant in her classroom (who has a non-education degree but has retired) making $2.65 an hour. Two dollars and sixty-five cents an hour to help educate twenty-some five and six year olds! Are you kidding me! High schoolers who baby sit on Friday and Saturday nights get paid better than that.

And the $2.65 isn't necessarily correct under Kansas law for professions customarily receiving tips and gratuities. I know as a grad student, I made $2.13 an hour waiting tables for a huge restaraunt corporation. If I wasn't tipped well or didn't have any tables, I basically didn't get paid, as my hourly earnings barely covered the state and federal taxes on my tips. But I was still expected to work. What a crock!

That being said, there probably should be an exception to the living wage for those professions earning the bulk of their income from gratuities, but servers should absolutely get paid more than $2.13 an hour.

David Ryan 13 years, 3 months ago

I find it astounding that a legislator would try to pass a law against something they admitedly haven't researched at all.

That's exactly like a doctor telling you they need to remove your large intestine because they believe it's harming you, and then telling you they have "no information" that your intestine "was causing any problems." You'd fire that doctor.

These legislators are great candidates for recall on the basis professional negligence and incompetence.

mrcairo 13 years, 3 months ago

Why not ask if giving massive tax breaks to cash-rich corporations hurts the State Economy, which is based on taxes right?

Bad_Brad 13 years, 3 months ago

Tax abatements can be beneficial as long as they are reasonable in scope and duration - especially to the extent that the abatement becomes the deciding factor between a company setting up shop or not. There is a short-term cost, but as long as the long-term benefit of more jobs materializes, that cost can easily be recouped. One other issue is that abatements are better off tied to some sort of legal promise not to relocate immediately once the abatement runs out.

Lulu 13 years, 3 months ago

It is wonderful and joyous. It is the most smiling thing for this town.


mrcairo 13 years, 3 months ago

Yea but Bowhunter, at least I'll be able to afford it.

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