In yesterday’s Open Thread, I linked to a piece about two Senators who are trying to preempt SeaTac’s $15 an hour minimum wage initiative. The state minimum wage ought to be a floor. If localities want to do better, there’s no moral reason to do so.
It’s a shitty enough idea on its own, of course, but it’s also an attempt to preempt Seattle’s $15 process. And thinking about this piece of legislation rattling around in my mind hit loose this from last session: It seems rather similar to the attempt to preempt the Seattle Sick Leave/ Safe Leave law. And I also thought of this Rodney Tom piece of work from a week or so ago. Again, Rodney Tom thinks that the sick leave/safe leave law (I assume that’s at least part of the shorthand for McGinn) was a boon for the Eastside because it harmed Seattle. He also thinks that it’s his job to harm Seattle if it helps the East Side.
It seems like only two of those three things can be true. If the Rodney Toms and John Brauns of the legislature thought their job was to have “filled up our office towers” at the expense of Seattle and that liberal laws at the local level were doing that, they wouldn’t propose legislation to preempt those laws. So at least one of those things is a lie. Since they’re proposing — and in the last session passing through the Senate — these laws we can assume that they want these laws passed. That leaves either Seattle and SeaTac’s laws aren’t as harmful to business as they say, or those legislators aren’t as anti-Seattle as they say. Given their willingness to fuck with Seattle on a whole host of issues from the cost overrun provision* of a state highway to treating Seattle like a piggy bank to not letting Metro fund itself, they clearly have issues with urban King County, and Seattle specifically.
So that leaves the Sick Leave/Safe Leave law and the $15 minimum wage being bad for business. Given their other two positions, it seems like this is the weak point. As I said in that previous post last week, Seattle is doing OK with our employment regulations. Maybe those legislators are more worried that their constituents will be see what Seattle and SeaTac are doing and want it for themselves.
*No matter if you think it’s enforceable or not, they clearly do.