AUSTIN, Texas — Austin City Council Member Vanessa Fuentes has issued a proposal to raise the minimum wage for City of Austin staff members, according to a report from KVUE's news partners at the Austin American-Statesman.
The resolution, which was approved at Thursday's meeting, calls for the minimum wage to be set at $22. Currently, the lowest City of Austin wage is $15.
If the $22 amount is determined unfeasible, the resolution instead calls for whatever increase the city budget would allow. It also does not include "sworn employees" whose pay is determined by separate contracts, such as police officers and firefighters, according to the report.
Council members Ann Kitchen, Chito Vela, Kathie Tovo and Pio Renteria have also joined in on the resolution.
According to the Statesman, Vela has said $22 for all City employees is likely to be unrealistic this budget cycle. However, he thinks the City should commit to raising pay for those with the lowest wages and continue to work toward the goal of raising wages overall.
The report also states that Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk has expressed difficulty in raising wages due to a property tax limit the State passed in 2021.
“Workers have made their voices heard, and now we must act,” said Councilmember Vanessa Fuentes “Raising the living wage is not just about providing our workers with the basic dignity they deserve in the city that they help power but ensuring reliable, quality City services for all Austinites. With vacancies at a record high, now is the time to demonstrate our commitment to the working class by increasing the base wage. Nobody should struggle to get by while working full-time in one of the wealthiest cities in the country.”
A spokesperson for Fuentes' office said that of the 210 people who showed up to provide comment during the meeting Thursday, 95 spoke in support of the wage increase, including City employees, lifeguards, 911 call takers, paramedics and airport workers.
Read the Statesman's full report here.
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