Don’t pass another law if you can’t enforce it! The discussion on the proposed living wage ordinance seems to be missing one huge ingredient. In order to enforce it, a new department will probably have to be created to 1) determine if a company has received assistance from the village; 2) require all companies that might have received assistance to keep books on all employees to show who made less than a “living wage;” 3) audit the company’s books to insure compliance (i.e., have access to private payroll records of all the companies in the village).
The cost to the taxpayers for the staff required will greatly exceed the $25,000 to $50,000 per year being quoted because of its “minimal impact” if enacted. A feel-good vote was slipped through without publicity in the last general election. Let’s have a real vote of the people before doing something stupid.
Most of us can agree that a family of four can’t live in Oak Park on less than $11.50 an hour, which works out to be about $23,000 a year. Frankly, nobody can live in Oak Park on $23,000 a year for very long without assistance. While this proposal is designed to help busboys, dishwashers, etc, there are Realtors and other commissioned professionals in the village who didn’t make that much last year. Are they going to be paid a living wage, too?
We have plenty of serious problems that the village, park and school boards can’t seem to handle. Pension funding, declining education and economic development versus giveaways are only three items that need attention. Instead they are spending time and money on something that the supporters claim will have little effect. The sponsors are a group of socialists whose goal is for the government to extend its control over those who support it instead of the other way around.
We have way too much government (and taxes) as it is. We don’t need another bureaucracy!