Seattle’s $15 Minimum Wage Not in Effect, But Already Killing Jobs

May 22, 2014

It seems Seattle’s anti-business policies are taking their toll on the city’s small businesses.   And while the city’s most controversial policy, a proposed $15 minimum wage, has not been passed yet, it is already having a chilling affect on jobs.

After decades in Seattle, Northwest Caster and Equipment recently made the difficult decision to move the business to unincorporated Lynnwood, according to a report by KOMO news.  The owner of the family business blames Seattle’s increasingly difficult business climate for the move:  “It just seems like increasingly the city’s become a more difficult place to do business.”

The city’s proposed $15 minimum wage was tops on the list of complaints.  “If I’m going to bring someone in on an entry level, I’d prefer to start them out where I’d like to start them out, rather than having that dictated to me.”

A commercial property landlord echoes those concerns about the $15 minimum wage, noting several tenants have signaled they may not renew their leases if it becomes law: “It’s just too expensive to operate in the city.”

And in a story today, KUOW reports that small businesses throughout the city are panicking over the super high minimum wage.  Multiple small business owners told KUOW they are holding off on opening new business or expanding their current business in Seattle, while others said they are delaying plans to hire new workers. 

One of those business owners is a well-known and active supporter of “progressive” labor policies, including a higher minimum wage.  Jody Hall, owner of Cupcake Royale, initially supported a $15 minimum wage.  But now Hall admits the proposed policy is, “keeping me up at night like nothing ever has.”

While Hall has serious concerns with Mayor Ed Murray’s plan to phase in a $15 minimum wage over seven years with a temporary tip credit, her biggest fear is if voters approve the radical charter amendment sponsored by the group 15Now.  The charter amendment would force all large employers to begin paying $15 in 2015, and would give small business owners just three years to acclimate to the high wage.  And the 15Now proposal would not allow for any tip credit.

If the charter amendment passes, Hall says she would be forced to close half of her seven locations and lay off 50 of her 100 workers.

But beyond the differences between Mayor Murray’s proposal or the more aggressive 15Now proposal, Hall says she now has “serious second thoughts” about a $15 minimum wage in general, especially since Seattle would be “going it alone” with a wage that is significantly higher than any other minimum wage in the nation.

Hall’s second thoughts about a $15 minimum wage have led to second thoughts about expanding her business.  She was set to open a new business in Seattle this year, but has tabled the plan until after voters have their say on the charter amendment in the November election.  Hall says if she considers any new locations before then, they will be outside the city limits.

Earlier this year a study commissioned by Mayor Murray and the Seattle City Council determined a $15 minimum wage would help low wage workers and reduce poverty, but omitted any estimations on the impact on employment.  A subsequent study by a Seattle economist predicted significant job loss.   

It would seem the Seattle economist was spot on.  The $15 wage is not yet in effect and already it is pushing businesses into neighboring cities and killing jobs as business owners put the brakes on growing their companies and hiring new workers. 

Comments

Happy Suburbs

They need to rename the $15 dollar an hour minimum wage they passed: "The Bellevue, Lynnwood, Shoreline, Lakeforest Park, Kenmore, Bothell, Woodinville, Renton Growth Act.

And if the "15Now" version passes, only a slight modification to: "The Bellevue, Lynnwood, Shoreline, Lakeforest Park, Kenmore, Bothell, Woodinville, Renton Growth Now Act." will be needed.

But I have to ask, if this is such a good thing why the phase in? Pass it to happen next week for every business regardless of size and let's get this economy really rolling as soon as possible!

“If I’m going to bring

“If I’m going to bring someone in on an entry level, I’d prefer to start them out where I’d like to start them out, rather than having that dictated to me.”

Huh, what a big surprise. "Business opposes restrictions, would prefer to pay employees as little as possible. More at 11."

You would pay some college

You would pay some college graduate with minimum experience 15 dollars an hour to start?

That's so fair to the veterans of the group that earned their higher pay.

Obviously these small

Obviously these small business owners in Seattle are just being selfish and greedy. Don't they realize that it's better to pay a $15 minimum wage to zero employees (because the mandate forces them to move or close down) than it is to pay a dozen employees $8.50 per hour? Where's their compassion? :)

so she just now figured out

so she just now figured out what this 15$ hr wage would do to her labor costs? Not the sharpest knife in the drawer!!!!

Yes, and they vote too.

Yes, and they vote too.

you think the chants would be

you think the chants would be as loud if they were wanting, no demanding an increase in the cost of living? that's all this does, people. raise min wg to 100 bucks an hour and tell me how much a loaf of bread costs in 8 months. we just can't be this stupid allowing these bumbling idiots in Washington to dictate our thoughts? remember the last election cycle? yeah, the big rah rah cheer was for women's contraception. before that? affordable healthcare. we are still waiting to see how that beauty turns out. since we print our own currency and somehow it's still the reserved currency worldwide we prolly won't resemble Argentina, but something like that. single handedly transformed America into a mockery with the focus being on 30million uninsured Americans. that's something they'll be studying in the future. kill 1 save 1000? no no no...kill 100 million+ to save the 30 million. awesome how we just ate that up. by the way, if you happen to be a sheep who still thinks the whole affordable care act has anything to do with healthcare, I'm sorry.

Social Security Recipiants wants 62% increase in our fixed incom

Social Security Recipiants wants 62% increase in our fixed income. 3% annual cost of living increase doesn't get it! Especially when they take most of the increase for medical and we see nothing. We can't survive on our earned income Social Security. Maybe we can take the $15 an hour jobs in Seattle so we can survive out there too. That's if the citizens of Seattle vote on it and it even passes.
It's time for us Baby Boomers to stand up and do as the entry level wage earners.... ASK AND GET A 62% INCREASE IN OUR WAGE AND FIXED INCOME we all ready worked for.
Get real working at MCDonalds is a pretty simple job, (it was my entry level job when I was 18 years old) and I KNOW a senior would get this job over a kid. We have learned the responsibility of being on time and working daily. lol Especially if it's $15 an hour. Wow!
No I'm NOT for the increase. Low entry level citizens get subsidized for things now. FOOD STAMPS, HOUSING VOUCHERS, MEDICAL, DENTAL FOR CHILDREN. Of course if they get $15 hour they will be over the income limits and not qualify for any subsides. What's wrong with this picture?