Activists and elected officials in Seattle are pushing to get the city in the Internet provider business with municipal broadband. Mayor Ed Murray supports the idea of government-owned and operated broadband networks and has commissioned a study to determine the costs and feasibility of making Seattle the first big city in the nation to treat broadband Internet access as a public ut
Last month Senator Sharon Nelson lambasted the chair of the Senate Commerce & Labor Committee for failing to hold “fair and balanced” hearings and proposed a Senate rule that would compel committees to run public hearings in a such a manner.
Activists across the state marched, rallied and protested yesterday in demand of a $15 minimum wage for all workers. The demonstrations were part of an effort coordinated by Working Washington in the “Fight for $15” campaign.
While advocates of increasing the minimum wage claim it is a win-win for employers (because people will have more money to spend) and employees (who will earn a higher wage), the reality is much different.
Increasing the minimum wage comes with undeniable trade-offs.
In the midst of last year’s raging debate over whether Seattle should increase the minimum wage to $15, a study by the University of Washington (UW) weighed in, finding 24% of Seattle workers would benefit from the wage hike. Add in predictions of wage compression, whereby employers increase the wages of workers already making more than $15 in order to maintain the pay-scale hierarchy, and the UW study said one third of the city’s workers would benefit.
Envision Spokane, a labor and enviro backed group, has filed an initiative to amend the City of Spokane’s charter to include a “Worker Bill of Rights.” If approved by voters in November, the measure would impose a sweeping set of new labor mandates on Spokane employers.
Research consistently shows that when the government forces employers to pay a higher minimum wage, employers rarely absorb the extra costs. Employers simply cannot pay a worker more than the value of their output. So forcing employers to pay workers an artificially high wage creates perverse incentives to find other ways to cut labor costs. Usually it is in the form of charging higher prices for the goods and services they provide, reducing the size of their work force, reducing employee hours or eliminating non-mandated benefits.
Yesterday Senate Minority Leader Sharon Nelson said she plans to ask for a Senate rule to require “fair and balanced” hearings. She specifically cited the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee, chaired by Senator Michael Baumgartner, as a primary offender.
When pressed for an example of why such a rule is needed, Senator Nelson said:
When you have a hearing it should be fair and balanced and both sides should be heard, versus having the WPC present on a bill and not have someone from the other side presenting on the same bill.”
A recent article in The News Tribune (Tacoma) featured a headline declaring, “Businesses elsewhere report few problems with sick leave laws.” The crux of the article is that business owners in Tacoma should not panic about that city’s impending paid sick leave law because some business owners in other cities with paid sick leave mandates say the regulat