Target: Seattle Mayor Ed Murray
Goal: Congratulate Mayor Murray for successfully leading the charge for a livable minimum wage
The city of Seattle made history recently by instating a new $15 per hour minimum wage, soon to be the highest minimum wage in the country. In an aggressive bid to tackle growing income inequality in the city, the city council voted unanimously in support of the wage hike, which will affect close to one quarter of workers in the area. This policy will raise tens of thousands of Seattleites out of poverty and provide a model for other cities to emulate.
The new legislation raises the wage gradually, using a phase-in approach that will begin next year with companies that have over 500 employees, who will have three years to reach the $15 mark. Large companies that provide employer-paid health plans get an extra year, while small businesses and nonprofits have up to seven years to implement the new wage, depending on how tips and health benefits enter into their calculations.
A recent summary of all of the studies that have been done on the impact of local minimum wage laws found that there is no statistically significant difference in employment levels between comparable cities with different wage law regimes, meaning that evidence for the conservative claim that raising the minimum wage kills jobs has yet to be found. On the contrary, many studies show that raising the minimum wage results in an economic “multiplier effect” in which low-wage workers spend their extra income almost entirely in the local economy, boosting consumer demand, raising profits, and enhancing local businesses.
President Obama has called income inequality “the defining issue of our time.” Seattle has responded with a vigorous and fair program that will raise the wage gradually, but quickly. According to a report written by Mayor Ed Murray’s minimum wage advisory committee, “new research on the effect of minimum wage increases documents important reductions in family poverty rates and enrollments in public assistance programs, such as food stamps.” Congratulate Seattle’s leaders for spearheading a long overdue movement towards a living wage for all.
Dear Mayor Murray,
President Obama has called income inequality “the defining issue of out time.” Seattle’s new minimum wage legislation challenges us all to address this issue in our own communities, and will set a new precedent for ensuring a living wage for the working poor.
Your leadership and perseverance will positively impact the lives of tens of thousands of low-income families in your city. Thank you for being a role model for other cities seeking to improve the lives of their hard-working citizens, and congratulations on leading the first American city to make such a significant push to reduce income inequality.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Fabrizio Costatini via The New York Times