Seattle’s elected leaders are nothing if not consistent – consistently picking the pockets of the city’s taxpayers.
Two announcements this week show just how much Mayor Ed Murray, and his fellow liberals on the city council, will go to please their big campaign donors in organized labor.
First was the update on the city’s minimum wage, reminding people that “as of Jan. 1, Seattle’s minimum (wage) will be $13 an hour for large employers (more than 500 employees) that don’t provide medical benefits.
“Large employers that pay toward medical benefits must pay at least $12.50 an hour.”
The “debate” over the minimum wage was never one about the fairness or the economics or raising the minimum wage. Rather, it was about city officials bending to the will of Service Employee International Union boss David Rolf, perhaps best demonstrated by defining small businesses of less than 500 employees as “large” businesses if they happened to be a franchise of a larger company –to try and make it easier for Rolf and his cronies to unionize franchise businesses.
The slope towards the nation’s highest minimum wage is a steep one, as the Times noted, “Large businesses that don’t pay medical benefits will have to pay $15 an hour by 2017. All employers will have to pay at least $15 by 2021.”
Fortunately, Mayor Murray has made sure that city employees will be able to afford the higher prices charged by Seattle businesses keeping up with the minimum wage hikes. He announced an agreement that not only provides raises in each of the next three years, but also “includes retroactive raises of 2 percent for 2015.”
That’s right, Seattle taxpayers get to pay an extra 2% to city employees this year, since Murray wasn’t able to finish giving in to the unions, er, “negotiating”, until the last week of the year. But fear not, city employees will be able continue to build a streak of raises at taxpayer expense to nine years by the end of this “deal”, thanks to the “retroactive” raise Murray agreed to.
The deal is a wide-ranging one, as it “covers 4,657 employees from 20 unions”, though not police officers and firefighters. It guarantees – beyond the retroactive pay hike – “raises of 2 percent or more for each of the next three years,” and since “the city’s historical practice is to give most nonunion employees the same raises as those union employees get”, it “means raises for an additional 3,259 employees.”
One might ask how many non-government employees in Seattle have received a raise every year since 2010, and are promised them for the next three years as well?
That’s not a question Murray was concerning himself with, however. Instead he was pleased “this tentative agreement will provide certainty as we budget into the future.”
The “certainty” he can count on is that with his budgets the cost of government will keep going up. Because that’s what his union campaign donors insist upon.