Fighting for a better solution after the passage of I-1433

Fighting for a better solution after the passage of I-1433
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 8, 2016
Contact: Stephanie McMannus
(360) 956-7279
StephanieM@wahospitality.org

We believe there were better solutions for Washington than Initiative 1433. Looking ahead, we will work with stakeholders to ensure that this law supports first-time employment, sets realistic paid leave requirements for industries such as construction, and helps rural communities offset any potential job loss. We’re committed to strengthening our bipartisan coalition and partnering with all leaders to make this a better policy for Washingtonians.

There are many options that consider the diverse needs of Washington communities. As the Seattle Times Editorial Board stated, “If I-1433 passes, the Legislature should consider phasing in the $13.50 wage more slowly for low-cost rural areas, modeled on the approach the Oregon Legislature took this year with a new, geographically tiered minimum-wage law.”

In the meantime I-1433 may make it difficult for some areas. There are vastly different costs of living across the state, varied pay structures within industries, and policies that can either inhibit or support entry-level jobs. We also agree with the Seattle Times statement, “I-1433 gives the state Department of Labor and Industries authority to set a lower minimum wage for workers under 18. The agency should do that. If it doesn’t, the Legislature should step in.” Starting jobs are critical. For every year people work in their teens their income rises 14 to 16 percent. Washington citizens deserve a law that defends these vital jobs, especially considering that Washington has the 8th highest unemployment in the nation.

With the passage of I-1433, state spending from I-1433 will increase $363 million, which makes balancing the state budget even more challenging. Taxes will increase by $85 million making it harder for voters to balance their personal budgets. The minimum wage will jump 30 percent, which will make business budgets even tighter. We must all consider new ways of doing business and find innovative answers.

Our coalition will take steps to ensure that Washington businesses have support navigating this steep wage hike. We will continue to advocate that lawmakers clarify sick-leave provisions and offer a longer phase-in for small businesses. Employers can look to us for support to come into compliance with the new law, which quickly goes into effect Jan. 1, and as they make changes to adapt to this increase and paid leave mandate.