VC Taxpayers Assoc. President Saliba tells GMSP! of living wage proposal

March 31, 2000
Santa Paula News
The living wage proposal is becoming increasingly controversial and the president of the Ventura County Taxpayers Association discussed his view at the February Good Morning Santa Paula! The Chamber of Commerce sponsored event was held at Logsdon’s at the Santa Paula Airport.Mike Saliba, President of the VCTA, said he is interested in getting input from those who have heard of the living wage proposal that would craft an ordinance requiring private firms that contract with Ventura County to pay employees a wage higher than the minimum set by state and federal law. In addition, benefits including medical and vacation time would also be mandated for county subcontractors, said Saliba.The living wage concept, endorsed by a majority vote of the Ventura County Board of Supervisors late last year, would require each subcontractor to pay employees $8 an hour if benefits are included, $10 if the employment has no benefits.Aside from the monetary impacts, noted Saliba, the county would organize and staff an oversight authority, “a huge new bureaucracy to monitor and audit private companies. . .I feel if the county goes for the living wage ordinance,” cities will follow.
The proposal if implemented would increase costs on firms that contract with the county and increase county costs for goods and services, he added. “At this time, when the county should be seeking more firms to bid on county contracts, this proposal would result in just the opposite,” as fewer companies would do business with the county, lessening competition and driving up costs. “It could create two classes of business, those who contract with the county and those who do not.”Saliba said there are other, “more efficient ways” to assist people who are earning minimum wages. Many such workers would benefit by fully using the “presently under-utilized federal earned income tax credit,” a bonus to those workers without increased costs to employers or local governments, he noted.Living wage proposals are an “unwarranted intrusion by local government into private business,” Saliba said.

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