Tacoma Weekly Op-Ed: Measure 1B is the right choice to raise Tacoma’s minimum wage

Tacoma business owner Don Hansen (pictured) and City Councilman Marty Campbell write today in Tacoma Weekly: “Measure 1B is supported by a broad coalition of community leaders, business leaders, nonprofits and workers who are committed to addressing income inequality with a solution appropriate for the city of Tacoma and our economy. They all recognize that a more reasonable and phased approach is right.”

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 5.17.01 PM

By Marty Campbell and Don Hansen

Support for a minimum wage increase in Tacoma is strong but the critical question, especially for small business owners and nonprofit organizations, is how much, how fast.

There are two competing minimum wage increases on the ballot this year.  One makes sense for Tacoma and the other clearly does not.

Measure 1, the $15 an hour proposal, is an extreme option that does not fit our local economy.  If approved, the $15 minimum wage would go into effect all at once – just weeks after the election – and give Tacoma the highest citywide minimum wage in the state.

For years, Tacoma would have a higher minimum wage than in Seattle, where the minimum wage increase to $15 an hour is phased in for up to seven years, and where the cost of living is nearly 20 percent higher than in Tacoma.

Measure 1B, the more reasonable increase to $12 an hour, would be phased in over two years, giving Tacoma businesses and nonprofits time to plan and adjust.   Subsequent increases would be based on the annual increase in the cost of living in Tacoma, a responsible approach that’s right for our local economy.

Comparing the measures’ impacts shows that Measure 1 is too extreme and Measure 1B is a far better option.