Republican Kenneth Sheets Backs Off “Big Government” Effort to Ban Living Wage Agreements

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Worker's Defense Rallies at Austin City Hall
In Support of Living Wage

Some good news from the Legislature: Republican Kenneth Sheets has withdrawn his bill to ban living wage agreements. The draconian bill was aimed at metropolitan areas such as San Antonio and Travis County, where living wage agreements are already on the books. The Austin City Council is considering one that would be added to economic incentive packages. These agreements require projects to pay a living wage to construction workers if they are receiving incentives.

Basically, Sheets doesn't think that local governments should have the control to use their tax dollars in support of their community values. Sounds just a bit like that “Big Government” Republicans are always railing against.

Sheets wants to make sure that local governments can't use incentives to drive better deals with major employers or construction projects. His bill would have hamstrung communities from using a critical tool in striking a balance between economic development and economic justice.

Sheets' bill was aimed square at low-income construction workers. Here in Travis County, the living wage requirement ensures that laborers receive $11 per hour for their work on the job. It's shameful and immoral that Sheets would go out of his way to try and deny local governments a critical tool that makes sure that hard-working Texans can earn enough to support their families. In the meantime, Sheets remains focused on limiting voter registration activities. This Sheets fellow sure sounds like a real nice guy.

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About Author

Katherine Haenschen

Katherine Haenschen is a PhD candidate at the University of Texas, where she studies political participation on digital media. She previously managed successful candidate, issue, voter registration, and GOTV campaigns in Central Texas. She is also a fan of UCONN women’s basketball and breakfast tacos.

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