Washington State could be getting closer to raising its minimum wage. I don’t know about you, but as a college student, I would totally be down to start getting some extra money. Seattle’s mayor, Ed Murray, supported raising the minimum wage during his campaign and since being elected has put together an advisory group to work on the process. The group is expected to communicate its recommendations to the city council by the end of the month but it is not expected that they will be recommending an increase in minimum wage right away. However there may be more pressure to raise it sooner rather than later. A group known as 15 Now has been advocating a minimum wage set at $15 an hour and filed paperwork on Monday to get the city to vote on it. The group will be required to get 30,000 signatures in order for the wage increase to appear on the ballots in November. One leader of 15 Now is the recently elected city council member Kshama Sawant, who has advised Mayor Murray about this situation. Kshama Sawant is a socialist who had an article written about her by the Spectator back in November. She was in support of
the increased minimum wage long before she began her campaign for Seattle’s city council. In order to prevent the city council from changing the amendment, 15 Now is planning on getting a city charter amendment. This amendment cannot be adjusted at a later time. One of the leaders of the group, Jess Spears, told the Associated Press, “It is putting the power in the hands of citizens of Seattle where it belongs.” I must say, I would have no complaints being paid $15 an hour, which is a very decent amount of cash. However, the current minimum wage in Washington State is set at $9.32 an hour. An increase of $5.68 is a very dramatic raise and could be difficult for companies, especially small businesses, to accommodate. One group known as OneSeattle expressed that they would support a minimum wage increase under a few conditions. They believe that the wage should gradually be raised over time rather than the immediate jump to $15, a sound argument. They also say that factors such as commission and tips should be taken into account. A lot of employees in the food service industry make less than the minimum wage because they make most of their living on tips. It should not be difficult for 15 Now to get the signatures it needs, so we should be expecting to see this in the upcoming ballot in the fall. I would take the $15, but it will be interesting to see how this may affect businesses in Seattle. If prices end up going up, an increased wage may not make much of a difference.
Harrison Bucher is a business management and marketing major in his second year at Seattle University. This year he joined the Spectator as a writer. He enjoys writing, movies and sports.