It’s official: Minimum wage Initiative I-1433 qualifies for fall ballot; UW team updates study of Seattle minimum wage

The Secretary of State made it official:  

Initiative 1433, a proposal to increase the state minimum wage, will appear on the fall statewide ballot in Washington, says Secretary of State Kim Wyman…I-1433 was the first of four Initiatives to the People to qualify.

As we wrote July 6, I-1433 was widely expected to qualify, as supporters turned in more than 360,000 signatures. At the time, the Association of Washington Business, along with six other statewide business groups, issued a press release citing concerns. 

The organizations met with lawmakers, business associations and union representatives to find a legislative solution this year, calling for a compromise during the legislative session. But, opposition within the Legislature created the vacuum that has led to the blunt instrument that is I-1433.

“We want to create opportunities for everyone to succeed without jeopardizing job retention and growth, particularly in rural communities,” said AWB President Kris Johnson.

The Puget Sound Business Journal also notes that I-1433 won’t affect Seattle.

The measure would not affect Seattle, where the city Council voted in 2014 to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15-an-hour.

In related news, the University of Washington research team is evaluating the Seattle $15 minimum wage ordinance, released another of its periodic reports on the effects of the law, which is being phased in over several years.  From the executive summary, here’s the key takeaway:

In sum, Seattle’s experience shows that the City’s low-wage workers did relatively well after the minimum wage increased, but largely because of the strong regional economy. Seattle’s low wage workers would have experienced almost equally positive trends if the minimum wage had not increased. Although the minimum wage clearly increased wages for this group, offsetting effects on low-wage worker hours and employment muted the impact on labor earnings.

We strongly caution that these results show only the short-run impact of Seattle’s increase to a wage of $11/hour, and that they do not reflect the full range of experiences for tens of thousands of individual workers in the City economy. These are “average” effects which could mask critical distinctions between workers in different categories.

In other words, what the researchers’ wrote earlier is still true,

We don’t yet know what the impact of today’s wage increase will ultimately be.

The Washington Research Council published a roundup and analysis of academic literature on the minimum wage last year. We recommend it.