Seattle government is one-step closer to enacting the highest minimum wage in the nation after a City Council committee on Thursday voted yes on Mayor Ed Murray's $15 wage plan.
Except for a few amendments added Thursday, the plan is similar to the one Murray announced several weeks ago, phasing in the $15 wage between three and seven years.
Socialist Councilwoman Kshama Sawant was initially opposed to Murray's plan, but voted for it on Thursday. The $15 minimum wage was almost entirely her idea.
All along, Seattle small business owners have been upset about the plan, but worked in good faith with the government to implement the increase fairly. Recently, a member of the committee that worked on the plan has come out to say that the process was a "charade."
"The process was a charade. And in the end, business isn't supporting it," Seattle small businessman and restaurateur David Meinert wrote on his Facebook page. "The final ordinance does not reflect what the [mayor's committee] agreed to, and many important details were changed between agreements at the meetings and drafting of the final document. This sort of bad faith negotiating took place throughout the process … out of either incompetence or intentional dishonesty."
The full City Council will vote on the wage plan on Monday. If they pass it, the $15 wage becomes law.
David Boze and Ben Shapiro - who debated with Sawant and other pro-$15 wage advocates at a KTTH event - criticized the plan, saying that it will not end income inequality, but will lead to lower employment and people and businesses fleeing Seattle.
"You will end up seeing a loss in population in the Seattle area," Shapiro said. "You'll see employment not increase in Seattle, but in the surrounding areas."
Shapiro said that Meinert, who has generally supported liberal causes, should not have been surprised that government created the $15 wage plan at gunpoint, not by compromise.
"If stimulating the economy were just as easy as taking from Jim and giving to Joe, don't you think communism would've worked out? Thanks progressive lefties, I'm sure this is making businesses feel secure about moving into Seattle.
"Silliness," Shapiro concluded.
Boze wondered why Seattle didn't just force the $15 wage immediately, if 70 percent of voters like it. In fact, Thursday's committee compromise is a disaster for the $15 Now group, which is pushing a ballot initiative for November that would enact the $15 wage on Jan. 1, 2015.
"They're not interested in income equality," Boze said. "They're interested in their redistributionist policies to combat the popularity in the Seattle area of the open socialist - closeted communist - Kshama Sawant."