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Living-Wage War Heats up Over Study
Crain's New York
Jeremy Smerd and Shane Dixon Kavanaugh

October 9, 2011
View the Original Article

Supporters of wage bill say Bloomberg officials timed release of study to undermine legislation.

Supporters of a revised City Council living-wage bill say Bloomberg administration officials timed their release of a study on wage mandates to undermine the legislation, details of which had just been leaked to the press.

“They've been sitting on [the study] for months, and then they read The New York Times story and quickly added a new section on the revised bill,” said a spokesman for the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.

But other bill supporters said the study ignored the revisions, which purport to reduce the measure's impact by exempting small projects from wage mandates. “This study has no relevance whatsoever,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

The changes to the bill, however, did nothing to persuade opponents, who argue that raising the minimum wage to $11.50 an hour at subsidized developments would kill retail projects before they reach the drawing board. They point to the demise last year of a rezoning bill needed by a proposed mall at Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx.

“It's Kingsbridge on a citywide scale,” one real estate insider said of the bill. “Tenants will not sign leases. Without tenants, there is no development.”