EDITORIAL | The (Longview) Daily News: No on I-1433 — Minimum Wage

September 15, 2016
The (Longview) Daily News
Editorial Board

As we’ve written on the opinion pages in the past, the Washington State initiative process has been hijacked and misused quite often. This year is no different, with initiatives from special interest groups littering the ballot. We found all the initiatives this year to be so bad none of them deserve our vote, and we don’t think they deserve your vote either. Please join us in voting “no” on all the statewide initiatives this year.

No on I-1433 — Minimum Wage If passed, Initiative 1433 would raise the minimum wage and force all employers to provide paid sick leave.

What this initiative will do is fundamentally change the purpose of a minimum wage. The idea behind the minimum wage system is to give people just coming into the workforce a stepping stone into higher paying work. Minimum wage jobs were never supposed to be permanent, career-type jobs. The minimum wage is meant to protect workers from being fleeced, while providing them with the chance to learn and build a skill set so they can earn more money. A minimum wage gives an employer the opportunity to hire and train people who have little or no skills at a reasonable cost.

With the “new normal” of high unemployment, and millions of people having dropped out of the workforce, some people want to change the minimum wage from a stepping stone to higher pay to just plain permanent jobs. Supporters of I-1433 want the minimum wage increased to $13.50 per hour by the year 2020, plus one hour of employer-paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked.

If passed, the effects of I-1433 will be many. Some workers will benefit from receiving higher pay, but not nearly as many as supporters believe. Businesses will be forced to raise the price of goods and services, hire fewer workers, reduce hours, turn full-time roles into part-time jobs, invest in more automation and pay more people “under the table.” When employers or people face higher taxes, which a higher minimum wage effectively is to businesses, they will do what they can to avoid the higher cost.

Will workers and business be better off in the end? We don’t think so. …