Voters Will Decide on Minimum Wage, Carbon Taxes, in WA State
Besides the Presidential race, we will also find out if businesses will be required to raise the minimum wage, and offer paid sick time for all workers, as well as if our gas prices and living costs will jump.
Initiatives 1433 and 732 will be decided by voters today. 1433, if it passes, would gradually raise the minimum wage to $13.50. But the real key to the plan is it would also require every business in Washington (who has an official license) to offer 'limitless' paid sick time to all workers, regardless of the number of employees. Even the little espresso stand with three workers would have to comply. According to several small business surveys, most mom-and-pop establishments don't have the financial coffers to pay workers when they are not there, which is basically what the bill stipulates. You would pay for the person to work the shift, but also have to pay the sick time for the absent worker. And unlike even most larger companies, 1433 places no limits on the amount of sick time a worker can accrue.
While West side papers and others say they support the plan, most of the businesses and business groups in the state oppose it. They say the costs will stifle growth, and discourage small business from hiring more workers-especially because of the sick leave clause. Supporters say passing it would enable minimum-wage workers to live a more affluent lifestyle.
I-732 would enact a carbon tax on businesses, manufacturers and fossil fuels, then try to make it 'revenue neutral' by lowering the state's sales tax. The money raised by the carbon taxes would be given in the form of a 'tax break' to low-income families, but not benefit anyone else. Even environmental groups are against it, because the money is not going towards environmental programs. Supporters say it's a way of 'nudging' business, manufacturing and others towards climate change programs, but opponents say it's bad business, bad tax strategy, and does nothing for environment. They call it a 'shell game' the way it moves money around, but doesn't accomplish anything.
Even neutral party observers say 732 is confusing to even experience political voters.