UPDATE 1-Washington, D.C., mayor vetoes minimum wage bill
Sept 12 (Reuters) - Washington, D.C., Mayor Vincent Gray on Thursday vetoed a controversial minimum wage bill that could have discouraged Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the world's biggest retailer, from opening stores in the U.S. capital.
The bill, approved by the city council two months ago, would require big retailers to pay a 50 percent premium on the local minimum wage of $8.25 per hour, with backers saying that Wal-Mart and others can easily afford it to get into the District of Columbia's fast-growing market.
Major U.S. retailers, including Target Corp and Home Depot Inc, had opposed the bill.
Wal-Mart had proposed opening six stores in the nation's capital, which were forecast to employ 1,800 people. Had the bill passed, Washington would have become the first city to require big-box retailers to pay higher wages.
"The bill is a job-killer, because nearly every large retailer now considering opening a store in the District has indicated that they will not come here or expand here if this bill becomes law," Gray said in a statement.
Wal-Mart praised the move.
"Now that this discriminatory legislation is behind us, we will move forward on our first stores in our nation's capital," the company said in a statement.