Walmart bill stays with Mayor Vincent Gray, says no decision made

File photo: Associated Press

Mayor Vincent Gray is officially on the clock when it comes to signing the Large Retailer Accountability Act, but as of Monday, he has still yet to decide whether to pass it or spike it.

The Washington Business Journal reports that Gray was once again noncommittal about his decision on the so-called Walmart bill as many groups called for him to veto it.

Gray received the bill on Friday - more than six weeks after it was passed by the D.C. Council - and has 10 business days to decide whether to sign it, veto it or send it back to the Council.

The bill would force several big box companies, such as Walmart, to pay its employees a wage of at least $12.50 per hour, more than $4 higher than the District of Columbia's minimum wage.

The Business Journal reports that while Gray continues to play his hand close to the chest on the LRAA, his deputy mayor for planning and economic development, Victor Hoskins, is holding the bill up as a "job killer."

Walmart's brass continued their offensive against the bill on Tuesday, urging Mayor Gray to veto the bill in a press release. In a statement, company officials said that there's a difference between standards for all businesses and "arbitrary costs" that discriminate against certain companies.

Joining Walmart's call for a veto Tuesday was the D.C. Chamber of Commerce, saying in a statement that the bill's passage could hurt their efforts to keep the district a viable place to do business and attract new investment.

D.C. Councilmember and mayoral candidate Jack Evans, who was one of eight that voted in favor of the bill on July 10, said Tuesday that he believes Walmart should continue with plans to build all six planned stores in the city even if Gray signs the bill.

Walmart has long threatened to pull three of its six planned stores if Gray signed the bill.

"Depending on how this all shakes out, either way, I think Walmart should continue to build those stores," Evans said on Newstalk with Bruce DePuyt on NewsChannel 8.

Those stores that could be pulled off the table include locations at Skyland Town Center, Capitol Gateway and on New York Avenue.