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  • DC Business Owners SUE CITY Over $15 Minimum Wage Plan

    The leader of Washington, D.C.’s Chamber of Commerce filed a lawsuit against the city to stop a plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020.

    In his lawsuit, D.C. Chamber President Harry Wingo said raising the minimum wage would unfairly discriminate against certain businesses, The Washington Post reports.

    “By mandating increases in the wages of some, but not all, employees in the District of Columbia, the initiative arbitrarily and unfairly discriminates,” the suit alleges, according to the Post.

    In July, local labor groups successfully launched a campaign to place an initiative on the 2016 ballot that would raise the minimum wage to $15 per-hour.

    If the activists supporting the initiative can collect around 25,000 signatures — or 5 percent of the D.C. population — on a petition before November 2016, the city’s residents will vote whether they want the higher minimum wage.

    The suit Wingo filed seeks to block the initiative from making it on to the ballot. Wingo filed the suit because he believes the board, in approving the initiative, misleadingly said the increase wouldn’t apply to D.C. government contractors.

    If the ballot initiative, dubbed the “Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2016,” were to take effect, the city’s minimum wage would rise to $12.50 in 2017, and then creep up each year until it reached $15 in 2020.

    Upon reaching $15 in 2020, the minimum wage would then increase annually to match the rising cost of living in the city.

    At a hearing with the D.C. Board of Elections in July, Wingo said raising the minimum wage would force many small businesses to close because “no small business owner can continue to operate under those conditions.”

    Wingo filed the lawsuit as an individual, according to the Post, so he could have standing as a city tax payer.

    The Board of Elections did not return request for comment for this story.

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