As the federal government has stalled on raising the minimum wage, many city and local governments are taking action to reduce income inequality, following the lead of Seattle, which recently raised its minimum wage to become the highest in the country at $15 an hour. This topic was a central focus at the 82nd annual meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors, where mayors from around the country brainstormed as to how to best utilize local governments to alleviate economic hardship.
At the meeting, the President of the Conference, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, introduced New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio who announced the creation of an inequality task force under which mayors of American cities will come together to address poverty and economic inequality. Boston Mayor Martin Walsh will act as vice chairman as they launch this task force with its first official meeting on August 11th in New York City. Calling city governments the optimal locale for implementing effective policy changes, Mayor de Blasio’s initiative, the Cities of Opportunity Task Force (COTF), will focus on issues pertaining to poverty such as raising the minimum wage, increasing affordable housing, and improving access to pre-kindergarten education.
The significance of COTF lies in the action of these local leaders in the face of the inaction of the federal government. Its recognition of the importance of local reform will hopefully inspire a wave of implementation of policies geared towards impoverished communities across local governments.
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