Seattle’s mayor has come out in favor of a city minimum wage of at least $15 per hour, roughly $31,200 per year. This is great news: this raise would put many workers closer to economic security.
It’s important to remember the impact the minimum wage has on families. Nearly one half (49.4%) of minimum wage workers are 25 or older; 64% of workers who earn the minimum wage or below are women. More than 35% of minimum wage workers work full time hours. Raising the minimum wage in Seattle would help Seattle women and children get closer to economic security, starting a virtuous cycle of inter-generational security.
The suggested minimum wage is only slightly lower than Seattle’s BEST wage for one worker of $15.86 per hour, $33,504 per year, for a worker with employment-sponsored benefits. While the dollar amount is higher for those without, the newly opened health care exchanges and tax credits will help to make up that difference. Poverty research has shown that the best way to combat poverty and increase economic security is to give unrestricted funds to those in poverty. The EITC has been a great example and I’m hopeful that Seattle’s pay raise will be another.