Anti-Business, Anti-Economic Development Wage To Be Dicussed


By Jon A. Brake

A wise man said: "There is not a right way to make a wrong decision." and the Manhattan City Commission
proved him right Tuesday night.

The Commissioners heard a presentation on a Living Wage Ordinance which would mandate employees receive
$8.45 per hour if the company has health benefits, and $9.28 without health benefits.

The Living Wage slogan, is like Communism, it sounds good, but it does not work. It is a gimmick, a false wage
base, a lie.

The Commissioners were told the Ordinance would cover any business that receives "Assistance" from the City
in the way of: 1. Business Loans or Grants 2. Tax Abatements 3. Tax Increment Financing (TIF) 4. Lease
Abatements, 5. Land Sales At Less Than A Fair Market Price and 6. Industrial Revenue Bonds.

The Commissioners were told that if IRB are used to develop Third Street that all businesses in the new mall
with more than ten employees would be covered by the Ordinance. If the Manhattan Town Center is sold the new
owner and new businesses would pay the higher wages.

The Ordinance would also have a Cost of Living Adjustment. The Commission would be called upon each year to
adjust the wage.

The Ordinance would require "any person who enters into a Service Contract with a CEDAR (City Economic
Development Assistance Recipient.) and who employs 10 or more employees would pay the fantasy wage. Any
Tenant or Leaseholder of a CEDAR who occupies property or uses equipment or property that is improved or
developed as a result of the Assistance awarded to the CEDAR, and who has 10 or more Employees would fall
under the Ordinance.

A large number of the crowd was made of local business owners. Many asked the Commission to not consider
such an ordinance. People like Dennis Mullin, President Steel & Pipe Supply; Pat Alexander, President Security
National Bank; Lee Stutzmsn, Charlson & Wilson Abstracters; Craig Thierolf, Credit Bureau of Manhattan; Ann
Harts, Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce; and Michael Oldfather, associate professor of economics at
KSU, were against the Ordinance.

Three Commissioners said they want to open the door for discussion. Commissioners Bruce Snead, Karen
McCulloh and Carol Peak have a history of working with the Flint Hills Living Wage Coalition and the
Manhattan Alliance for Peace and Justice. Last year the three voted as part of Sustainable Manhattan board to
give MAPJ $550 to hold a work shop on the Living Wage. The close working relationship continued Tuesday