Living Wage Ordinance – St. Paul

In January 1997, the St. Paul, Minnesota, city council unanimously passed a directive requiring recipients of $100,000 or more of city economic development assistance in one year to pay employees a living wage, defined as 110% of the federal poverty level for a family of four, currently about $8.83 an hour (100% of poverty line required for companies who provide health insurance; currently $8.03). At least 60%of new jobs created as a result of such assistance must go to St. Paul residents.




WHEREAS,according to the 1990 census, 17% of the City of Saint Paul’s residents and 19% of Minneapolis’s residents live in poverty; and

WHEREAS,the City investment in local economic development provides many benefits for citizens of Saint Paul, one of which could be the availability of living wage jobs for the community; and

WHEREAS,the Saint Paul and Minaeapolis City Councils established the Joint Saint Paul/Minneapolis Living Wage Jobs Task Force with the purpose of developing and recommending living wage jobs policy for the two cities; and

WHEREAS, the Task Force was comprised of members representing businesses, economic development specialists, labor and community organizations and was co-chaired by MaryAnn Sudieth, Vice Prcsident of Community Reinvestment at FIRSTAR in downtowrn Saint Paul and Rebtcca Yanisch, Executive Director of the Minneapolis Community Development Agency (MCDA); and

WHEREAS,the joint Saint Paul/Minneapolis Living Wage Jobs Task Force met every two weeks from April through November of this year, alternating meeting locations between Saint Paul and Minneapolis; and

WHEREAS,the Task Force dedicated itself to the development of its policy recommendations by 1) hearing from the Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, the Minneapolis Community Development Agency, and the Saint Paul Port Authority on current job and development policies in the Two Cities; 2) conducting pubtic hearings at the Minnehaha Recreation Center in Saint Paul and the Peavey Neighborhood Center in Minneapolis in order to understand fully community concerns and ideas for living wage jobs policies for Minneapolis and St. Paul; and 3) deliberating on specific policy recommendations to go forward to the Saint Paul and Minnneapolis City Councils–finalizing its policy recommendations On November 26, 1996; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED,that the Saint Paul City Council accepts the policy recommendations developed by the Joint Saint Paul-Minneapolis Living Wlge Jobs Task Force and adopts the recommendations as policy; and be it finally resolved that the Saint Paul City Council forwards to the Saint Paul Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) those policy recommendations pertaining to HRA operations.


As Adopted by the Saint Paul City Council January 2, 1997

  1. In any City economic development project in which jobs are created or retained, the City assistance should require the creation or retention of full time jobs with a living wage except when any of the following conditions are met:
    1. the cumulative assistance package totals less than $100,000 in any one fiscal year; or
    2. the business receiving the assistance is a small business as defined by Minnesota Stature 645.445; or
    3. the recipient is an intermediary, such as a community development corporation or community bank, which serves as a pass-through agency for the granting of assistance; or
    4. the recipient is a business in its first year of existence in which case the exception will last for one year.
  2. For purposes of this provision, assistance should be broadly defined as loans, bonds, grants and City tax incentives, excluding conduit bonds.
  3. Redevelopment projects whose only public assistance is site remediation, investigation, and assembly will be exempt from monitoring and sanctions requirements.
  4. A living wage must be paid by all businesses covered by this policy after an employee has been on the job ior one year and a living wage will be defined and indexed as 110% of the federal poverty level for a family of four, or 100% of the federal poverty level for a family of four for businesses that provide employer-paid basic heath insurance coverage. Any business unable to pay all or part of the living wage must provlde a detailed explanation to the Department of Planning and Economic Development, which may recommend to the City Council and/or the Housing and Redevelopment Authority Board of Commissioners a waiver to this requirement which waiver may be granted by resolution.
  5. 60% of new jobs created must be held by City residents. These jobs should be advertised to the entire community including low-income people through community-sponsored organizations or job linkage programs.
  6. The City of Saint Paul will focus its job creation and retention assitance at businesses which demonstrate a commitment to the community by providing living wage jobs to their employees and to residents by giving priority to these businesses over businesses which have not traditionally paid living wages.
  7. A11 other things being equal, and to the extent legally possible, the City of Saint Paul will give preferential status for job creation and retention assistance to businesses that engage in responsible labor relations.
  8. The City of Saint Paul and the Saint Paul Port Authority will impose sanctions for non- compliance with these requirements.
  9. The Saint Paul City Councils designates the Department of Planning and Economic Development to monitor and prepare an annual report on compliance with these requirements, possibly as a part of its annual report to the City Council on the job impacts of the previous year’s projects.
  10. The City of Saint Paul exempts organizations whose primary mission is to provide job readiness and training services, and whose sole purpose of requesting funding is to provide those services.
  11. The City of Saint Paul will work with the Metropolitan Council and other appropriate state and regional agencies and the legislature to promote common standards consistent along these guidelines for job creation and retention assistance by public development agencies throughout the region.
  12. The City of Saint Paul will commit to assist area businesses to obtain trained and work-ready employees and to facilitate access to child care and public transportation systems.
  13. Administrative guidelines should be developed by the City’s Department of Planning and Economic Development and HRA staff and brought before the City Council and HRA Board of Commissioners for review and adoption. These guidelines should explain in detail how each of the policy recommendations will be implemented.
  14. Because job readiness is a primary challenge to the success of any wage initiative, and because it is of importance to the residents of Saint Paul as well as to business that develops here, the Saint Paul City Council and the Housing and Redevelopment Authority Board of Commissioners directs the City’s Department of Planning and Economic Development and HRA staff to develop a job readiness, training and apprenticeship proposal for City residents. The proposal should include cost estimates and possible resources from public and private sources, and should be developed in partnership with local job training, placement and apprenticeship agencies. Funds for monitoring and compliance shall include funds for staff costs to work with other public and private entities to prepare City residents for jobs in new development.

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