On its second reading before the D.C. council, the controversial Large Retailer Accountability Act passed by a margin of 8-5 Wednesday afternoon.
Without a veto from Mayor Vincent Gray, that means a non-union District retailer with a parent company making more than $1 billion per year and occupying at least 75,000 square feet would have to pay employees a minimum of $12.50 per hour. Current minimum wage in the city is $8.25. Federal minimum wage is $7.25.
Wal-Mart said Tuesday that it would scrap plans for three of the six stores planned for D.C. if the legislation went through.
Alex Barron, a regional general manager for the chain, made the announcement via an editorial published in The Washington Post Tuesday.
Three Wal-Mart stores are already under construction. The three that would be dropped, Barron wrote, are planned for Skyland, Capitol Gateway, and New York Avenue.
The company has been an outspoken opponent of the bill, which passed an intial council vote in late June.
Mayor Vincent Gray said in a response to the editorial that “the cancellation of three planned stores will surely set us back.” He’s asking the council to consider whether the bill would promote economic development.
D.C.’s Chamber of Commerce has said that other “unnamed” retailers have threatened to walk away from the city, as well. The Chamber has also spoken out about its opposition to the bill.
Barron’s editorial urged Gray to veto the bill, calling it “discriminatory” and contrary to the administration’s economic development policies.