Upping the minimum wage in Seattle is one thing, but the proposal to raise the statewide minimum wage is another, and it’s misguided, KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson says.
A statewide effort is gathering signatures to increase the minimum wage from $9.47 to $13.50. The campaign kicked off last weekend. The Raise Up Washington campaign needs 250,000 valid signatures for the matter to be put in front of voters in November. The effort has been endorsed by both presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.
If the voters approved the initiative, the state’s minimum wage would increase in phases: to $11 in 2017, $11.50 in 2018, $12 in 2019 and $13.50 in 2020.
Dori, who says he worked either no-wage or minimum wage jobs from ages 14-24, says a blanket statewide increase is a bad idea. He believes it would have a detrimental economic impact on the many rural cities throughout the state.
“The cost of living in a place like Colfax is dramatically different from the cost of living if you are on Queen Anne or Fremont in Seattle,” he said. “It doesn’t make any sense to have a statewide minimum wage. The economies of rural Eastern Washington and urban cities in Western Washington are night and day, and (it’s not smart) to say a minimum wage should be one-size fits all.”
Dori believes the way to make more money should not involve taking an entry level job and/or relying on voters to raise your salary.
“Minimum-wage jobs generally are entry-level jobs,” he said. “They are jobs that you work while you’re finishing your college degree or while you are acquiring some trade skills if college is not for you. It is not meant to be a living wage. It is meant to be a stepping stone.”