The Davis City Council is currently doing extensive research in an effort to establish a standard living wage for city employees. Many council members and concerned citizens have been pushing for a standard living wage policy for some time, and it has now become a main concern of the city council.
A living wage is higher than minimum wage, reflecting the necessary income to live in a specific region and factoring in other needs such as health benefits from the employer. According to Jim Newman, superintendent of parks and general services, the living wage in this area is in the range of $9.50 to $11 per hour.
It is positive that the city of Davis is closely examining this issue. Rather than throwing out random numbers, there is a substantial amount of research being put into this project. Finding the appropriate standard living wage will have a great impact on a number of employees and families, and doing the appropriate analysis is necessary in order to best benefit these people.
Furthermore, this is an excellent opportunity for the city to examine the economic development and current demographics of Davis. This examination should stretch beyond the city of Davis and should also include the greater region, specifically less developed cities such as Dixon and Woodland.
While a standard living wage is a progressive measure, it is also important to remember the strain that it could potentially place on small, private businesses. However, the city plans on applying the standard living wage to its own employees first and then will look at the possibility of expanding the policy to private Davis businesses.
Overall, the City Council is taking on an important issue given how high the cost of living is in Davis. By imposing a standard living wage, this could enable those of lower income to live in the city in which they are employed.