The Anaheim Resort unions are trying to place a measure to radically boost the minimum wage from the current $11 to $18. It would apply – at least initially – to Anaheim Resort business that receive TOT or sales tax rebates or other economic assistance.
If it qualifies and is approved by voters, it would constitute a retroactive, unilateral change to the economic assistance agreements between the city and several 4-Diamond hotel projects: the GardenWalk Hotels, two Wincome hotels and a new Disney hotel.
Anaheim City Councilman Jose F. Moreno supports the unions’ $18 minimum wage campaign. He’s even gone so far as to agendize having the authors of a report paid for by the Anaheim Resort unions brief the Anaheim City Council on why they think – contrary to overwhelming data to the contrary – this abrupt, dramatic and artificial increase in the cost of labor will magically spur, rather than depress, job creation.
Moreno’s support for retroactively and unilaterally changing those contracts is curious. Several weeks ago, he said Anaheim couldn’t change the economic assistance agreements for those 4-diamond hotel projects, because to do so would put the city in breach of contract:
When Anaheim voters approve an initiative, they are directly exercising the legislative power normally reserved to the city council. In other words, they are acting as the city council. If voters approve this initiative, it would be no different than the Anaheim City Council voting to unilaterally amend its contracts with those hotel developers – who have already made it very clear they’re opposed to this change and will likely cancel these hotel projects if the union measure becomes law.
One doesn’t have to support those agreements to understand this is treading into banana republic territory. When contracts stop being contracts in this manner, it undermines our system of ordered liberty. Proponents may like the immediate results, but the longer term damage is profound. It will be interesting to see if Councilman Moreno address the inherent contradiction between his February comments and his support for this destructive, misguided initiative.