WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — A D.C. Council committee is considering a controversial bill that would require big box stores to pay workers more than smaller businesses in the District.

The committee on Wednesday heard comments from the public on the Large Retailer Accountability Act, which would require stores such as Walmart, Home Depot and Target to pay employees a minimum wage of $11.75 per hour. That would be $3 per hour more than the District-wide minimum wage of $8.25, which is set by city law at $1 per hour more than the federal minimum.

Supporters and opponents of the bill packed into the council chambers Wednesday morning to offer their views before the Committee on Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.

Committee Chairman Vincent Orange said he was disappointed no one from Walmart was at the hearing to offer their opinions.

“It’s to Walmart’s detriment for them not to be here, to put on the record themselves and make their case,” Orange said.

Walmart officials have said that the law singles out large retailers and prevents them from bringing their businesses to the District.

Barbara Lang, president of the D.C. Chamber of Commerce, agreed and said bills like this one are the reason the city has a bad rap when it comes to dealing with businesses.

“(This is) why the District is at the bottom of the business-friendly list — 51 out of 51,” Lang said.

She added that District residents already spend about $770 million at retailers outside the city.

“Private retailers do not have to come to the District to make money when it’s clear District residents go to them,” Lang said.

WNEW’s John Domen contributed to this report. Follow John and WNEW on Twitter.


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