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Published: Friday, 5/22/2009

Toledo viewed as unfriendly to business, candidate says

BY TOM TROY
BLADE POLITICS WRITER

Paul Tetuan, a candidate for Toledo City Council, said the city should consider repealing its "living wage" law as a way of making the city more business-friendly.

Mr. Tetuan, 51, a city police officer on light duty seeking disability retirement, held a news conference yesterday to call for measures that would lower barriers to business in the city. He is one of about two dozen people who have expressed interest in the six at-large seats up for election this year. He said the city has developed a reputation as unfriendly to business, and cited the living wage law as an example.

The law enacted in 2000 applies to firms that have contracts with the city greater than $10,000 or receive more than $100,000 in city incentives. Firms with fewer than 50 employees are exempt.

The city's living wage is pegged at 110 percent of the federal poverty level for a family of four, now $11.67 an hour, if benefits are provided. If no medical benefits are provided, the wage is set at 130 percent of poverty level, or $13.79 an hour. Ohio's minimum wage is $7.30 an hour.

Mr. Tetuan said he would try to convene a study into the value of the law.

"My impression is that it may be costing us jobs. If it's costing Toledo jobs, it needs to be changed," he said.

"We have to assist business owners in doing business in Toledo, not tell them how to run their business," he said.

He said he would establish a coalition representing business, labor, and developers for a 30 to 45-day review of city regulations and procedures as they relate to business.

Lucas County commissioners in February passed a resolution requiring companies that receive grants, loans, or certain tax incentives to pay the living wage. It does not force businesses that enter into county contracts to pay such a wage.

Mr. Tetuan claimed that he started the trend of running as a political independent when he announced his candidacy a year ago.

"It appears that most of the recently announced candidates are declaring as Independent candidates - citing that they don't want to be told what to do by either the Democrats or the Republicans. I actually welcome all of these converts to my position that I announced in May of 2008 when I first declared as a candidate for Toledo City Council," he said.

Contact Tom Troy at:

tomtroy@theblade.com

or 419-724-6058.



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