Advocates of increasing the minimum wage routinely claim that doing so will stimulate the economy, encourage growth and create jobs. Ignoring the basic economic law of demand, which dictates that when the cost of something goes up, demand correspondingly goes down, these supporters instead argue that when workers earn more money they spend more money, which in turn benefits employers. Everyone wins.
Of course, the only ones who really win are the workers who have a job; those who don’t will have a harder time finding one.
During this Legislative Session, lawmakers in the House of Representatives considered two bills that would require employers to offer paid leave to workers.
HB 1313 would require employers with 5 or more employees to pay employees for 5, 7 or 9 days of sick leave per year, depending on the size of the company. This bill passed the House and will now be considered by the Senate.
On Wednesday I testified on two bills that would help alleviate our state’s high teen unemployment rate. SB 6495 and SB 6471 would extend the current law that allows businesses to pay 14-15 year old workers a sub-minimum wage, to 16-19 year olds.
Yesterday Washington Policy Center was invited to participate in a press conference at the Capitol highlighting the “Jobs Now” package of bills introduced in the House and Senate that would improve the state’s small business climate. Many of the bills highlighted in the press conference reflect long-standing WPC recommendations.
Yesterday supporters of a $15 minimum wage used the observation of Martin Luther King Jr. Day to rally their cause in Seattle. The chairman of Seattle’s MLK Celebration Committee, Seattle City Councilmember Larry Gossett, endorsed the hijacking of the MLK celebration event to promote a $15 minimum wage, speculating, “He [Martin Luther King Jr.] would fight for this…why wouldn’t he?”
Last month Governor Inslee said it was time for Washington to “have a conversation” about increasing our state’s minimum wage, already the highest of any state in the nation. At the time the Governor did not specify what the higher minimum wage should be, only that the current wage of $9.32 is not enough.
The latest numbers for enrollees in the Obamacare health insurance exchanges were recently released. We are now over half way through the enrollment period, but only 2.2 million of the 7 million people the federal government predicted have signed up.
Reducing the state’s regulatory burden has long been a top priority for the business community. Businesses large and small have, for decades, complained our state’s layers of complex regulations are confusing, disjointed, contradictory and often impossible to fully comply with. The call has repeatedly been to reform our state’s regulatory system in order to make Washington a more competitive state to do business.