Raise Up Washington, the union-backed coalition, is pushing a job-killing initiative (I-1433) that would raise the statewide minimum wage to $13.50 per hour and require employers to provide up to seven days of paid sick leave per year. The special interests behind the measure hope to qualify for the November ballot gathering than 250,000 valid signatures by July.
I-1433 already has the support of a long list of Democrats, with even Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders giving the initiative their endorsement. So, it should come as no surprise that a politician like Democrat State Sen. Dean Takko is considering joining the chorus (though, apparently, he prefers a county-by-county approach to raising the minimum wage).
It’s Takko’s less-than-ideal word choice when it comes to informing the public of why he supports raising the minimum wage that comes as a bit of a surprise. Here’s an example:
“Washington’s minimum wage is one of the nation’s highest, and the Legislature ended its 2016 session without acting on several other alternatives to boost it. So the Raise Up initiative ‘is the only game in town right now,” Takko said…
“Sen. Takko had hoped for a more regional approach that takes into account cost-of-living differences by county.
“Whatever happens, Takko said, ‘It’s going to be a great social experiment.’”
Some should alert Takko to the fact that using terms like “game” and “social experiment” in reference to an initiative that would impact the livelihoods of working families across the state is completely inappropriate… in terms of his party’s messaging strategy.
You see, Takko’s explanation is exactly right. It’s just not the terms you would expect to hear from Democrats. Rather, Democrats insist that they are “fighting” for a so-called “living wage.” They reject the argument that hiking the minimum wage to unprecedented levels would lead to economic uncertainty and guaranteed job losses.
Takko, perhaps inadvertently, exposed the truth about initiatives like I-1433. They are social experiments with some unavoidable, damaging outcomes. Take the word of small business owners:
“Jarrett Skreen, owner of Ashtown Brewing in Longview, said he likely would scale back workers’ hours.
“‘We’ll do the same amount of work, but with fewer employees,’ he said. ‘As small businesses, we operate pretty darn lean.’ …
“But Lynn Brewer, owner of Lynn’s Ice Cream, Yogurt & More, worried it would encourage employees to unnecessarily call in sick.
“‘I think you’re going to see a lot of independent businesses like me going out of business,’ she said.”
Raising the minimum wage to unprecedented levels is a social experiment, but not the kind small businesses can afford to be part of.