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Virginia: County Manager Wants Increase in ‘Living Wage’ Rate
Sun Gazette

February 16, 2012
View the Original Article

County Manager Barbara Donnellan has proposed a 3-percent rise in the minimum hourly rate paid under the county government’s “living wage” ordinance.

As part of her fiscal 2013 budget proposal, Donnellan seeks to hike the minimum from $12.75 per hour to $13.13. It would be the first increase in several years.

The rate applies both to employees of the county government and, in some cases, to employees of contractors doing work for the county government. The current living-wage rate is 75 percent higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

The concept of a “living wage” has both supporters and detractors, with arguments for and against falling along lines similar to that of the federal minimum wage. Supporters say the living wage provides employees enough money to live on, while detractors say it distorts real-world economics and causes employers to hire fewer low-level workers.

The Arlington Chamber of Commerce has long registered its opposition to imposing a living-wage requirement on government contractors, arguing that the county government lacks the permission of the General Assembly to do so. But the matter has never been litigated.