During his statements preceding the Providence City Council vote to put the measure granting $15 an hour to hotel workers on November’s ballot, Councillor John Igliozzi suggested an idea that should be given real consideration by all city and town councils in the state.
Igliozzi pointed out that if the Rhode Island General Assembly were to deny cities and towns in Rhode Island the right to set minimum wages within their municipalities, then property tax breaks, called “tax stabilization agreements” in Providence, should only be granted to those businesses that agree to pay their employees at least $15 an hour. Igliozzi pointed out that these agreements are contracts between city governments and the businesses, and that any legally enforceable clause can be included.
The General Assembly cannot interfere in such deals through their usual means of legislative end runs.
It’s a great idea and it should be implemented immediately. No further tax stabilization deals should even be considered in Providence without a legally binding guarantee of a $15 minimum wage for all workers, hired or contracted, at the business seeking the tax break. Further, companies with more than one business in Rhode Island, like The Procaccianti Group, which owns three hotels and pays its workers subpar wages, should be denied future tax breaks on future properties until all its businesses start paying a $15 wage.