Irvine has officially repealed Larry Agran’s living wage ordinance 4 to 1, according to Irvine Finance Commissioner Allan Bartlett’s Facebook page. The only vote in support of the living wage ordinance came from liberal Irvine City Councilwoman Beth Krom.
GOP consultant Jon Fleischman had this to say about the repeal: “It will take many, many years to undo the damage that Larry Agran and his far-left liberal majority did on the Irvine City Council over a decade of ruling the city. The fact that Irvine is the ONLY city in all of Orange County with a goofy “living wage” law should say something. Kudos to the Republican supermajority in Irvine for laboring here.”
Irvine’s living wage ordinance applied to companies whose contracts with the city are valued at $100,000 or more a year. The companies must also pay the established wage to all employees who conduct a majority of their work in Orange County. The living wage ordinance also requires that contractors provide health benefits and time off comparable to that offered by the city, or else add an additional “benefit factor rate” to the hourly rate, the staff report said. For the 2014-15 fiscal year, that additional benefit rate was $2.52 an hour, according to the L.A. Times.
The Republican Irvine City Council members said the issue caught their attention when a contractor cited the law as the reason why it retracted its bid to perform custodial services, according to the Voice of OC.
Bartlett told the Voice of OC that “the city’s living wage ordinance contradicted the country’s free market principles. It also drives up contract costs and could prevent companies from hiring high school kids looking for work during summer break.”
Irvine Mayor Pro Tem Jeffrey Lalloway told the Voice of OC that the city’s living wage ordinance is falsely labeled because the minimum wages aren’t enough for a family to live comfortably in the city. He said government shouldn’t be interfering with a transaction between consenting individuals and that the city’s voters spoke when they elected a conservative majority.
“The living wage is not a living wage at all. It’s called a feel good wage,” Lalloway said. “We’re unnaturally inflating the amount we’re paying for services in the city. I don’t know how that’s consistent with our fiduciary responsibility.”
Irvine Mayor Steven Choi said on his Facebook page that “We’re striving to make Irvine as responsible with the public’s hard-earned tax dollars as we can!”
Councilwoman Christina Shea said at the council meeting last week that Irvine’s Living Wage law “extends the ordinance’s requirement beyond our municipal borders,” It also created an “unfair economic burden on the taxpayer,” according to the O.C. Register.
The Irvine City Council also reportedly repealed the $50 annual business license fee and passed a flag resolution tonight.