Seattle’s City Council – and the business community – are being railroaded into accepting the inevitability of a $15 minimum wage in the city, based on the mandate of a 77-vote win in a 6,000-vote SeaTac city election and Socialist City Council member Kshama Sawant narrowly winning in a race that was so life-altering, it attracted less than half the normally-rabid Seattle voters to the polls in 2013.
To keep that momentum going, Sawant’s 15Now allies (using talking points from their SEIU 775NW labor masters) are happy to lie through their teeth about the realities of jacking up our state’s nation-leading minimum wage.
Last week, Sawant’s former campaign manager and 15Now spokesperson Ramy Khalil said “no other state in the country” counts a tip credit towards the minimum wage and “we should not accept that here in Seattle.”
Of course, that was a lie. Washington is, in fact, one of only 7 states that does not allow employers to offset part of the hourly wage paid to tipped employees. It is also a fact that the federal government allows a tip credit in the federal minimum wage policy.
Even among the standout seven states, which bow down to organized labor and don’t allow a tip credit to employers, three allow offsets to recognize the economic impact of higher minimum wages– Nevada, Montana and Minnesota. In Nevada, businesses providing health care benefits can figure health care costs into the wage equation– which, of course, is a non-starter for the zealots in Seattle. Montana and Minnesota make an allowance for small business employers.
Perhaps Councilwoman Sawant should have been told by SEIU 7775NW about those policies before she rolled out her new plan last week. Though, of course, she couldn’t tell her people the truth about what other states do on the minimum wage. The truth would only slow down momentum here.