Last week, the state revealed a modest increase in the revenue forecast. The rosy new revenue outlook drew some rather questionable explanations from state lawmakers. Specifically, Democrat state Senator Andy Billig decided to use the new state revenue forecast as an opportunity to praise the new $15 minimum wage and paid sick leave mandates in Seattle and SeaTac by attributing some of the modest increase to the new policies. Billig said,
“I think [the forecast council increase] takes away a little bit of the fear maybe that some had about the increase in minimum wage in Seattle and other places, or paid sick leave; you can see not only isn’t it having a negative effect, but is actually probably contributing to our increases into our prosperity as a state.”
Billig’s claim in more than just a little far-fetched. First, the first phase of Seattle’s new minimum wage increase ($10 and $11 depending on the size of their employer) took effect just over one month ago (April 1). Seattle’s “paid sick leave mandate for some employers that has been in effect since September 2012.” Additionally, SeaTac has a “$15 minimum wage and paid sick leave mandate which impacts only about 1,000 workers.” Using these facts, the Washington Policy Center recently put Billig’s comments into perspective. The Washington Policy Center,
“So Senator Billig thinks a $15 wage paid to $1,000 workers in SeaTac, combined with the $10-$11 wage that just took effect one month ago in Seattle, would have an impact on the state’s revenue forecast. And that a paid sick leave mandate that applies to some employers in just two cities in the state would have an impact.”
The Washington Policy Center goes on to point out that the “the actual revenue forecast report from the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council makes no mention of minimum wage or paid sick leave mandates having any impact on the state’s revenue.” Rather, according to the report, “the increased revenue forecast is primarily the result of new rules regulating the sale of medical marijuana and a surplus in real estate excise tax collections.” The Washington Policy Center concludes,
“And while Senator Billing declares “you can see not only isn’t it having a negative effect, but is actually probably contributing to our increases into our prosperity as a state,” there are employers, workers and consumers who might disagree. It’s hard to see how the 100 jobs Cascade Designs is moving to Nevada, or the 12 jobs that will be lost when Z Pizza shuts it doors, or the three weeks of paid vacation that workers at Icon Grill will lose, or the tips that servers at Ivars Salmon House will no longer receive, or the higher prices that consumers will pay—all the result of Seattle’s newly increased minimum wage—translates into increased prosperity.”
The state of Washington has the most regressive taxation system in the union, so anything which increases the amount of money in the wallets of the lowest-paid workers should effect a disproportionate increase upon state revenues.
Plus, the Washington Policy Center was dead flat wrong about the effect of the $15/hour minimum wage in SeaTac, and has yet to explain why Seattle ranks just behind San Francisco in wage growth:
Seattle wages grew 2.3 percent between the first quarter of 2014 and the same period this year. That’s 0.5 percent faster than in the rest of the country. San Diego had wage growth of 3 percent and San Francisco had 2.8 percent. But the Seattle area was still near the top of the list for regions with the biggest increases.
Having the WPC oppose wage policy is pretty solid confirmation the policy is sound. Please thank them for their validation!
Eastside Sanity says
It’s dinner time, mommies calling.
As predictably as the sun rising in the East, every article about maximum idiocy draws you out of your (13 month) leased basement. How does the 1st quarter of 2014 wage stats have anything to do with a mandate rammed through by the Seattle Politburo effective April 2015? It has to be that everybody thinks it’s such a great idea, they passed out huge raises a year early. It can’t mean anything else to you. Amazon being one of the top 10 retailers in the country? Nah, 15 not right NOW and not for everybody!
SeaTac is in the Seattle area, and the minimum wage there was $15/hour for all of 2014.
Still, interesting questions for a blog which has repeatedly claimed that negative consequences of the increased minimum wage somehow preceded that increase:
First casualty of Seattle’s $15 minimum wage
Published February 10, 2015
More Seattle restaurants close doors as $15 minimum wage approaches
Published March 12, 2015
(Seattle’s minimum wage increased on April 1st, 2015.)
Also, please note: all of the business owners mentioned in that second post have publicly stated that Seattle’s minimum wage increases did not drive their decisions:
Frank went so far as to send a note to the author of the Washington Policy Center post saying: “Our business model is conducive to the changing times and we would appreciate it if you did not make assumptions about our business to promote your political values.”
Ouch! That’ll leave a mark!
If you ever find out why this blog held such contrary-to-fact beliefs, please let us know.
“SeaTac is in the Seattle area, and the minimum wage there was $15/hour for all of 2014”
So what? First you claim victory for maximum idiocy because Seattle’s wages increased 2.3% in 2014, second only to San Francisco then talk about SeaTac being in the SEATTLE AREA. Your stats didn’t say anything about the Seattle AREA or the San Francisco AREA. Typical for a lying communist, when facts don’t match your rhetoric, make stuff up.
…then talk about SeaTac being in the SEATTLE AREA. Your stats didn’t say anything about the Seattle AREA or the San Francisco AREA.
You really, really need to read more carefully. Again, from my quote from the original article, this time with emphasis added for your special needs:
But the Seattle area was still near the top of the list for regions with the biggest increases.
If you’re seriously claiming that SeaTac is not in the Seattle area, that would just add to the hilarity you provide here. Thanks again for the laughs.
Eastside Sanity says
Billig is an Idiot.