At least one Memphis City Council member reportedly wants any business that accepts the city’s corporate welfare to raise their minimum wage from $13 to $21.
None of the 13 Memphis City Council members returned The Tennessee Star’s requests for comment Monday.
The Memphis Flyer reported last week that Memphis City Council member Martavius Jones proposed the minimum wage increase for businesses that take pay in lieu of tax incentives (PILOT) through the Memphis and Shelby Economic Development Growth Engine (EDGE).
“Currently, the minimum wage requirement for PILOT projects is $13 an hour, which Jones said is less than a livable wage,” The Memphis Flyer reported.
“PILOT projects give temporary tax abatements in return for a commitment to contracting local minority- or women-owned businesses, creating jobs, and making other community investments. To date, EDGE has incentivized 128 PILOT projects. Recipients include large companies such as ServiceMaster and Amazon to local companies, such as Hollywood Feed and Superlo.”
The Star asked EDGE spokesman Keisha Oliver on Monday if she and other officials worry that a minimum wage increase might drive current businesses out of Shelby County and discourage new ones from coming in.
Oliver said in an email that she could not respond before Monday’s stated deadline.
In 2019, EDGE bestowed a generous amount of corporate welfare upon AutoZone and $9.5 million in tax incentives to bring IKEA to Memphis. IKEA informed city officials they could not do what they promised in exchange for that money. IKEA officials gave up some of their previously approved 11-year tax abatement.
IKEA did not hire the number of jobs or pay the level of wages it promised city and county officials in exchange for lesser property tax payments. Officials with the European-based company described just how selective they are in choosing store locations. IKEA’s application revealed the company picked communities based on where it can get the most generous tax incentives.
Those areas include St. Louis; Merriam, Kansas; and Centennial, Colorado, according to IKEA’s application with the city.
– – –