At yesterday’s no-news conference, Mayor Ed Murray refused to release details on the minimum wage compromise on which he says his advisory committee has almost but not quite reached consensus. So in the absence of facts, I’m just going to have to go with some of the rumors leaking from committee members and their posses—the most disturbing of which is a proposed phase-in of as long as seven years for some businesses… not adjusted for inflation. (The inflation index wouldn’t kick in until after the seven-year phase-in was complete.)
So, let’s see, if you phase in a $15 minimum wage over seven years, starting in 2015, and conservatively presume an average annual inflation rate of 1.75 percent, that means that the 2022 Seattle minimum wage of $15 an hour is really only worth about $13.25 an hour in current dollars. Give or take.
Don’t get me wrong: $13.25 an hour is not nothing. It’s damn well better than today’s state minimum wage of $9.32 an hour. But $13.25 is not $15. By that math, we already have a $15 minimum wage—in 1993 dollars. So please don’t call it a $15 an hour minimum wage.
I don’t know where my friends at 15Now.org stand on this, but personally, I could accept a two or three year phase-in to the number 15, if not the actual value, depending on the totality of the package. But five to seven years, not inflation-adjusted, like I’m hearing, that’s just ridiculous.
So if that’s part of your proposal Ed, no patting yourself on the back for negotiating a compromise that gets us to a $15 minimum wage. Because you didn’t.