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WA House Democrats Plan To Push for Minimum Wage Increase – Could Be $15 An Hour

State House plans to push for minimum wage increase
(Washington state legislative website)

House Democrats plan to introduce a set of what they are calling “economic-equality proposals”.   Senate leaders immediately have blasted it.

New Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has issued an executive order to bump some 600 city employees to that $15-an-hour mark.   The minimum wage raise has already been approved by the City of SeaTac, and this issue is being closely watched throughout the state.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports while the House plans to introduce plans to raise the wage they haven’t said if it will be $15 per hour.   Senate leaders immediately blasted the plan including Democrat Rodney Tom.  He is one of two Dems who have sided with 23 Senate Republicans as part of the Senate Coalition.    Tom said at a Seattle City Club forum last Friday, “I worked at McDonalds, but I didn’t feel it was a career,” referring to his college days before he was able to go into a very successful business.

Washington state already has the highest minimum wage at $9.32 an hour,  due to an initiative passed in the ’90′s that was backed by labor unions.  It includes annual cost-of-living increases.   President Obama reported is going to ask for a raise in the federal minimum wage to $10.10 during his upcoming State-Of-The-Union address later this month.

Besides putting economic stress on smaller businesses and potentially reducing job growth -according to several business studies- The Seattle PI also reports critics say the plan could have a ripple effect in numerous areas:

“State Rep. Dan Kristiansen, the House Republican leader, voiced concern that a higher minimum wage could put Washington agricultural products at a competitive disadvantage, citing the potato industry.

What if, in this state, it costs “$2 to $3 an hour more than neighboring states” for workers to harvest and process potatoes?” Kristiansen asked.”

Even if it sails through the House, such a plan faces stiff opposition in the Republican-controlled Senate.  Tom and other Senate leaders are expected to disapprove of any drastic or radical increases in the wage.

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