July 1, 2013

The June 27 Metro article “Higher minimum pay nearer in District” mentioned the letter that D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) sent to the D.C. Council prior to last week’s vote on the Large Retailer Accountability Act. Mr. Gray urged council members to “move cautiously” and strike the “appropriate balance . . . between improving the lives of our workforce, and encouraging business attraction and retention.”

When my organization first weighed in on this debate last month, we were hopeful that the council would demonstrate the caution that Mr. Gray’s letter encouraged. To date, it has not.

By moving forward with this proposal, the council is damaging the city’s image within the larger retail business community. The council should listen to the group of diverse voices warning that the act will have grave implications to the access that D.C. residents have to jobs and quality retail — particularly in underserved communities. At a time when the U.S. retail landscape is more competitive than ever, this bill will surely cause major retailers to pause when choosing between the District and its neighbors Maryland and Virginia.

Joe Rinzel, Arlington

The writer is vice president for state government affairs at the Retail Industry Leaders Association.