WASHINGTON — Mayor Vincent Gray here on Thursday vetoed the “living wage” bill that would have forced big-box retailers to pay a premium to its hourly workers.

The bill was passed by City Council in July despite the opposition of Wal-Mart Stores, which said it would not open at least three locations under development if the bill passed.


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The bill called for a minimum wage of $12.50 an hour to be paid by retail stores of more than 75,000 square feet that exceed $1 billion in annual sales. The current minimum wage in Washington is $8.25.

Gray said the legislation was “well intentioned but flawed,” saying it would cost the city jobs while benefitting only a small number of workers. Gray instead called on the council to pass a higher minimum wage for all workers.

Read more: D.C. Wage Bill Passes Despite Wal-Mart Threat

"Some have suggested that my decision to veto this bill would represent caving to bullying by large retailers," Gray wrote in the veto announcement. "Nothing could be further from the truth."

The veto drew applause from the Retail Industry Leaders Association, a trade group representing large retailers.

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