Minimum wage campaign: Is initiative best way to hike pay?

October 22, 2016
Associated Press
Gene Johnson


Opponents of I-1433 say they don’t necessarily oppose raising the minimum wage. Some say they would support a more moderate increase, such as to $12, with certain conditions: that it’s regionally tiered, includes a training wage for teens, and credits tips toward wages. I-1433 includes none of those provisions.

Raising the minimum wage by nearly half could cost jobs and force businesses to close, they argue. Economically depressed parts of Washington couldn’t bear it, they say, and Washington already has the nation’s eighth-highest unemployment rate.

Kelly Chambers runs a Visiting Angels franchise in Tacoma, providing in-home care to seniors who pay out of pocket. She says she surveyed her customers to ask what they’d do if she had to raise prices to cover higher worker costs under I-1433. About 90 percent said they’d cancel or reduce the care they receive, she said. …

Many economists say studies have found no correlation between minimum wage increases and job losses, but some believe the minimum wage should be set at about half of a region’s median wage.

But I-1433 would raise the minimum wage higher than that in most of the state, from 60 percent of the median in Kitsap County to 79 percent in Yakima County, according to a report by the Washington Research Council, which opposes the measure.

“When people get the facts in their hands, nobody can really get on board with anything above $12,” said No on I-1433 spokeswoman Yvette Ollada.




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