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San Diego
Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Mayor: Living Wage Proposal Is ‘Bad Policy’

Mayor Dick Murphy, in a memo March 16 to four City Council members, labeled the proposed living wage ordinance “bad policy at a bad time,” but agreed to schedule it for consideration April 12.

On March 15, council members Michael Zucchet, Toni Atkins, Tony Young and Donna Frye asked Murphy to schedule the item within 30 days for council consideration.

“We believe this issue is of considerable importance to the residents of San Diego and deserves our urgent attention,” they wrote in a memo.

In his memo to the council members, Murphy cited three reasons he opposed the plan:

The ordinance would cost the taxpayers millions of dollars that should be spent on police officers, fire equipment, libraries, parks and street resurfacing “in these lean budget times.”

It will increase pay and benefits for the employees of outside city contractors. “We should not increase the pay and benefits of non-city employees while asking our municipal employees to accept a freeze, or cut, in pay and benefits.”

Adopting a living wage ordinance “sends the wrong signal to the credit markets. On Aug. 10, in reference to our credit downgrade, Moody’s said, ‘The city has not exerted control over its expenditure levels sufficient to generate strong reserves and a stable, structurally balanced budget ‘ This is the time to demonstrate fiscal discipline to regain the confidence of current rating agencies.”

“At the very least, we should not be considering the living wage ordinance until after the city manager presents his FY 06 budget on May 2,” Murphy wrote. “Only then can we properly evaluate the living wage ordinance’s impact on city services.”

Pat Broderick


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