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$15 Now Tacoma?

A little item caught our attention on the City website this week...

NOTICE Initiative 
No. 1 Ballot Title - Minimum Wage

Please be advised that an Initiative Petition to establish a $15.00 minimum wage for the City of Tacoma was filed in the City Clerk’s Office on November 25, 2014.

Pursuant to Tacoma City Charter Section 2.19 (e) following is the official notification of the ballot title for Initiative No. 1:

Initiative No. 1 concerns establishing a minimum wage for the City of Tacoma. This measure would require employers of a certain size to pay employees who work in the City of Tacoma, or maintain, report to, or are supervised from, an office in the City,an hourly wage of not less that fifteen dollars ($15.00), adjusted annually by the rate of inflation.  This measure would also create a citizen commission to monitor the City’s administration and enforcement of the minimum wage requirements, and make violation a crime.

Should this measure be enacted into law?

 Yes [   ]
 No [   ] 

Pursuant to Tacoma City Charter Section 2.19 (f), persons dissatisfied with the ballot title prepared by the City Attorney may seek judicial review by petitioning the Pierce County Superior Court within ten (10) working days of the notification of the ballot title having been posted.

This comes as Mayor Strickland and the City Council are in the middle of discussions on a proposed requirement for Tacoma employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees.

We're just barely past the 2014 election, but it sounds like you can expect to start seeing 15 Now Tacoma signature gatherers out there looking for your support starting later this month. So, are we ready for a higher minimum wage for Tacoma? $15 now?

Read more from The News Tribune.

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This is not a good idea. If you want business to continue to grow in Tacoma and you want local restaurants to pop up and new restaurants to continue to trickle in from out of town (Seattle), then you vote no on this.

December 9, 2014 at 11:35 am / Reply / Quote and reply

14 | 6

Tony Nof

About time, 15 now!!

December 9, 2014 at 11:48 am / Reply / Quote and reply

7 | 10


Does anyone have recent figures on Tacoma employers by annual revenue?  I’d like to see those numbers.

December 9, 2014 at 1:46 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

1 | 0


I happen to know of a certain restaurateur who claims to support this ballot. But pays his dish machine operators minimum wage with no tip out from the front of the house. I’d name names but I’m employed by said restaurateur. Not as a DMO though.

December 9, 2014 at 2:06 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

3 | 2


I run a small business with 7 employees. Our starting rate for most positions is $15/hr. Most employees earn more than that, though.  I look at this from two perspectives. As a business owner and as a resident of Tacoma.

As a social policy, I generally favor a strong minimum wage. From the actual data I’ve seen, if you look at new business starts, job market growth, and general effect on the local economy, minimum wages don’t seem to have the disastrous effects opponents warn about, while at the same time putting more money in the hands of the lowest-earning workers who are likely to use the increased income on daily living expenses. It’s money that gets immediately put back into the local economy.  Look up what happened in Seatac and Seattle after they increased their minimum wage.

As a business owner, I’d probably increase my hourly wages even though the proposed law wouldn’t directly apply to me. I want to treat my employees better than the minimum and a higher wage attracts better applicants.  In the grand scheme of things that little increase won’t make or break me.  If needed, I could raise my prices a bit. That might price some people out of the market, but there will still be plenty of work for us.  This won’t put us out of business by any means. 

In fact, I’d have a hard time believing that any business would truly be killed by this. If your margins are so tight and you’re paying so many people in your company minimum wage, that this law puts you into the red, then from one business owner to another: your business model sucks. Seriously, it means that the business was already marginal and probably going to fail and the minimum wage thing was just the final straw.  Businesses like that are like the weakest animals in the herd, it’s not good when they die, but they’re not the healthy, vibrant ones either.  Unless I see better data which contradicts what I’ve already read, I think this law is a positive for the city.

December 9, 2014 at 9:39 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

11 | 7

Common Sense

I would think every business would be different. I would not want to decide the fate of a business and the employees working for that business when I do not know the business model and margin it is operating on. I do know a more than 60% increase in labor costs would amount to a whole lot of money.  If you took say a restaurant that employed 13 people and they were all making minimum wage. If they all together averaged around 30 hours per week—that would total up to 20,280.00 hours for the year. Going from our current rate of $9.32 to $15.00 is an increase of $5.68. That change would be a increase in costs of $115,190.40 before the additional costs tacked on associated with wages. This may be a tough number for many small businesses to absorb. If they raise prices substantially to survive and the public does not come in? close up and move to the next city?

December 9, 2014 at 11:07 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

6 | 1


You would also have a whole lot of new people in your neighborhood who could then afford to patronize your business.

December 11, 2014 at 12:39 am / Reply / Quote and reply

5 | 3

Common Sense

To make up that cost? From everything I have read, most small businesses do not produce that much profit in one year to begin with. My guess is you would have to double business to make up for that. That would not happen.

December 11, 2014 at 11:29 am / Reply / Quote and reply

3 | 1

Maximilian Hyland

Small businesses are exempted from the law, Common Sense.

Do you have another objection?

December 26, 2014 at 10:21 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

2 | 2

Common Sense

$300,000 in sales and below are exempt. Who’s definition of a small business is that? Labor groups? Most small businesses in Tacoma make more than that. That also has nothing to do with profits. Seattle had a 5 year phase in for small business. Seattle classifies a small business with 500 or fewer employees. So yes I would have a few objections.

December 27, 2014 at 9:47 am / Reply / Quote and reply

3 | 0



Link to Wikipedia article section talking about the data we have on the effects of minimum wage laws. It’s worth a look if anyone should want facts instead of speculation.

tl;dr It’s a complicated subject and both sides can point to studies that appear to support themselves. But the best research with the best data seems to say that there is no negative effect on jobs as a whole. Although there is a consistent pattern of minimum wage raises increasing teen unemployment by 1-3%. Fast food restaurants tend to do the worst while locally owned restaurants see little change.

December 11, 2014 at 9:44 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

4 | 2

Common Sense

Another good article to read that just came out this December about increasing the minimum wage. It was a lot smaller increase than the one $15nowtacoma is pushing and it shows some very bad effects of employment. Just think if the number was $15?

December 12, 2014 at 9:50 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

1 | 2

Maximilian Hyland

There have been larger minimum wage hikes, such as in 1949. This did not collapse the economy, or even hurt it.

It spurred on growth, exactly as economic modelling says it should.

Empirical data, theoretical models, both say that minimum wage increases are good for the economy, good for working people, good for businesses, and by extension good for America.

And that, is good enough for me.

December 26, 2014 at 10:25 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

4 | 2

Common Sense

I just read this article about how the minimum wage law affected San Jose’s economy. It is also a good read.
It is a current tale. Of course no one has gone to $15 overnight like this—which most economists woulds tell you would be a economic disaster.

December 12, 2014 at 9:29 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

2 | 0


Subversion of individual freedoms is alive and real in Tacoma.

It should be plain and simple to understand that using the legal system to force the transfer of wealth from private employers to employees will not improve the condition of workers or employers. Denying people their right to self-determination sounds like a scheme to promote unhappiness in people, if not outright rebellion.

What about the worker’s right to sell his labor at the price he determines? Suppose one is willing to work for $5.00 an hour. At that rate, he is content and his standard of living is sustainable. He is capable of rendering valuable assistance in solving future social and economic problems as they arise. If such a self-determined worker is both willing and able to share in the building of a better society, then why should any worker’s freedom to compete in the labor market be denied?

December 16, 2014 at 12:04 am / Reply / Quote and reply

3 | 4

Maximilian Hyland

I suppose we should also weep for the loss of our right to send our children to work in coal mines?

You’ve opened my eyes, Thackerspeed- we must abolish all labor laws and trade controls. It is in fact the state that oppresses us, and if there were no rules the whole world would be fair, just, and kind, by the will of the invisible hand and the laws of the Market. Why didn’t anyone think of it before? your genius knows no bounds.

Thackerspeed for president, 2016.

December 26, 2014 at 10:29 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

3 | 2


Imagine two people applying for a job that pays $15.00 an hour. One person has knowledge, skills, and experience. The other person has none of those qualities. Yet, according to the law, both individuals are equal—-An inadequate, misleading, and harmful official viewpoint has blurred the distinction between rights and personal responsibility.

Who would want live in such a negative utopia, besides tyrants commanding a propaganda machine and a standing army?

December 27, 2014 at 2:03 am / Reply / Quote and reply

2 | 3

Common Sense

A citywide minimum wage does not work because businesses can move a few miles out of the city to avoid the additional labor costs; statewide laws, on the other hand, prevent such an easy fix.
Shoppers can move as easily as businesses to other cities to do their shopping—as a result, businesses in cities with minimum wages cannot respond to the wage hike by raising their prices, because a price hike would cost them customers.
This means that city businesses must find other ways to meet the additional labor costs: cutting jobs or hours for their employees. Indeed, he notes that a 2005 increase in Santa Fe\‘s minimum wage from $5.15 to $8.50 an hour increased unemployment by 3.2 percentage points.
Those arguing for minimum wage increases insist they will help poor families, but Yelowitz stresses that hours, rather than wages, are the most important factor in lifting a person out of poverty. As NCPA Senior Fellow Peter Ferrara noted in a study earlier this year, only 2.7 percent of Americans who work full time, year round, are in poverty.

Source: Aaron Yelowitz, “Citywide Minimum Wage Hikes Do More Harm than Good,” Economics21.org, November 3, 2014.

December 27, 2014 at 10:05 am / Reply / Quote and reply

1 | 0

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