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Seattle Considering Raising Minimum Wage To $15 Per Hour

Date: April 07, 2014

Increase Would Make City An Outlier

Seattle’s city council is considering increasing the city’s minimum wage from $9.32 an hour to $15 an hour. The proponents of the measure argue that it is necessary to decrease inequality in a city with a number of booming tech companies. However, the proposed level would give Seattle a far higher wage than any other major city. A government analysis of the proposal finds that it would impact about 102,000 workers that currently make less than $15/hr. The increase, according to the study, would fall most heavily on the hotel and restaurant industry.

The potential move has already raised the hackles of small businesses in the city. For example, a group of small, independent businesses has banded together to form “Forward Seattle,” which has expressed its concern with the impact on small businesses. The group is proposing an alternative $11 an hour minimum wage for small businesses, with annual adjustments through 2017. The group is also seeking to include tips, commissions, benefits and profit sharing as part of the wage.

What This Means For Small Business:

Such a sharp increase would be difficult for small businesses in Seattle, who will often lack the flexibility to respond to such a sharp wage increase without failing or laying off significant numbers of workers. NFIB has put together a fact sheet on the negative impact of mandatory wage increases on small businesses.

Additional Reading:

The New York Times has a piece covering the debate, while KIRO-FM focuses on the small business angle. The AP reports on those that will be impacted. Jonathan Martin writes about the harsh tone of the debate, in his column for the Seattle Times.


This news article is intended to keep small business owners apprised of current events that may affect them. It does not necessarily reflect NFIB’s policy position on such issues.



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