MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Seattle’s new mayor makes move toward $15 wage, addresses inequality

Dec 19, 2013, 1:45 PM | Updated: 2:29 pm

Seattle’s new mayor wants a plan in place to address income inequality within his first 100 d...

Seattle's new mayor wants a plan in place to address income inequality within his first 100 days in office. (AP Photo/File)

(AP Photo/File)

Seattle’s new mayor wants a plan in place to address income inequality within his first 100 days in office.

Seattle Mayor-elect Ed Murray released a list of strategies Thursday to address opportunity gaps that threaten Seattle’s diverse character.

“Is this going to be a city for the rich? Or is this going to be a city that’s diverse economically, racially, ethically? That’s the challenge before us,” says Murray.

Murray wants to make affordable housing more available, and strengthen the city’s public transit system to connect more people to their jobs.

He also mentioned offering education and training options structured to help working adults, and link them to better paying jobs, according to a list of strategies released by his newly appointed Income Inequality Advisory Committee.

Murray chose a diverse group of people in business, labor, government and academics to hash out the details.

His plan comes on the heels of mounting pressure to raise the minimum wage to $15 in Seattle. Earlier this month, supporters of the $15 minimum wage marched from SeaTac to Seattle, where Proposition 1 was passed after the October election, making SeaTac the first $15 minimum wage city in the nation.

While Murray says he supports a minimum wage increase, he says that’s not how to fix the inequality problem altogether. “The issue of minimum wage is only one part of how we’re going to address an affordable Seattle. We need to look at issues of housing, of education.”

Murray’s committee will be co-chaired by one business and one labor leader to address a “meaningful increase in the compensation for Seattle workers.”

Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant, who is a member of the committee, says she will wait until April to decide whether to push for an initiative to the people. Earlier this week, she said she wanted to put the issue to the voters.

Murray says he wants the council to decide this issue and doesn’t want business and labor to waste money on an expensive initiative campaign.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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