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Tacoma Minimum Wage: 15 Now? 15… Eventually? 12 Eventually?
Last week the city council formally accepted the findings of the Tacoma Minimum Wage Task Force. This week the council is scheduled to act on those recommendations, voting on whether to put one proposal on the ballot in November as an alternative to the 15 Now proposal.
Although the task force did not reach a united consensus on a single recommendation, there was some agreement among the group of stakeholders - the consensus reported was that an abrupt increase from the current $9.47 to $15 on January 1 of next year would be unprecedented and tough on small businesses and nonprofits, and that an increase of the minimum wage should be done incrementally to ease the transition over time.
Additionally, they did submit two proposals, one increasing the minimum wage in Tacoma to $15, the second increasing it to $12, both in incremental steps to ease the transition for smaller businesses.
- Proposal A was endorsed by 9 Task Force members and would achieve a minimum hourly wage of $15 for everyone working in Tacoma by 2024. For businesses with 150 or more employees, the minimum hourly wage for employees would be $15 by 2020. Then, "Sometime during these five years the City would adjust the minimum wage of employees of small businesses to achieve parity by 2030 between the minimum hourly wages paid by small and large businesses.
- Proposal B was endorsed by 6 Task Force members and would achieve a minimum hourly wage of $12 for everyone working in Tacoma by 2019.
Details about the task force and its recommendations, including meeting agendas, notes, and other documents, is available at cityoftacoma.org/minimumwage. The Task Force's Final Report (pdf), as submitted to the council, is of particular interest if you're looking for more details on the proposals and the thinking behind them. The comparison matrix above gives a year-by-year break-down of the proposals. If a third column were added representing the 15 Now proposal, it would read $15 all the way down, beginning in 2016.
Each proposal includes the following two notes as well:
- City of Tacoma conducts an assessment of the impacts of the recent rise in the minimum wage on: a) small businesses and non-profits; b) minimum wage/low wage workers; and c) the city’s economy in the context of Pierce County and the greater Puget Sound region
- The State of Washington estimates the CPI will rise 2.4% annually. The City will follow the state methodology to calculate CPI. Given that in the future the State may use an improved index, Task Force members recommend the City of Tacoma follow such changes and remain consistent with the State’s use of preferred practices.
After some council discussion of the recommendations, a resolution appears on this week's regular council meeting agenda moving Proposal B forward to the voters for consideration this November. The ballot item up for council approval reads as follows:
CITY OF TACOMA INITIATIVE MEASURE NO. 1B
Concerns Establishing a Minimum Wage In The City Of Tacoma As an alternative, the City Council has proposed Initiative Measure No. 1B The Tacoma City Council adopted Resolution No. 39237 concerning establishing a minimum wage. If passed by the voters, Initiative 1B would require employers to pay a minimum hourly wage to employees aged sixteen (16) and over performing work in Tacoma of not less than $10.35 per hour beginning February 2016, $11.15 beginning January 2017, and $12.00 beginning January 2018, adjusted annually thereafter based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) as calculated and used by the State of Washington at that time, and requiring that an impact assessment be conducted in 2018 and every two years thereafter.
Should either of these measures be enacted into law?
Yes……… [ ] No………. [ ]
Regardless of whether you voted yes or no above, if one of these measures is enacted, which one should it be?
Measure No. 1…………… [ ] Or Measure No. 1B…………. [ ]
It appears that the council is leaning toward the $12 proposal, but that could change at tonight's meeting... Which proposal, if any, are you leaning toward?
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