By Kasandra Garza
Assistant News Director
San Marcos City Council has passed a new amendment in the city’s Economic Development Policy that requires all employers qualifying for an economic development incentive to pay their employees a minimum of $15 an hour.
Scott Gregson, Councilman for place five, took the lead on this effort saying he believes it is important to allow citizens to have the opportunity to have a wage that gives them sufficient income.
Gregson said the idea stemmed from a report done last year by city council showing there was an increase in need among citizens for the local food bank. He said those needs are a direct result of families having an insufficient income to support themselves.
Gregson said after reviewing research done by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and looking at poverty level analysis, that $14.20 would provide just enough income to support a family of four. However, this amount does not include emergency expenses such as “car troubles” and medical expenses. Gregson said he and his colleagues decided to increase the amount to better serve employees.
“We felt like $15 was a minimum threshold that would allow people above the minimum threshold to provide their families a quality living nutritious diet, a good education and putting some money away for savings,” Gregson said.
Gregson said he does not believe the minimum wage will have an impact on San Marcos’s economy, but rather families.
With this policy, Gregson said city council will no longer be incentivizing jobs that fall short of the minimum wage and this is not suggesting to set a minimum wage across San Marcos, but to provide meaningful employment for citizens. The amendment also includes that employers provide sponsored health insurance benefits. Gregson said city council will continue to look at companies who can provide growth and jobs for the community.