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Minimum Wage Increase Right for our Economy

Posted by Lori Pfingst at Jan 14, 2014 11:15 PM |
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Fair pay for hard work is the cornerstone of a strong economy.  By highlighting the need for a minimum wage increase of $1.50 to $2.50 in his State of the State address, Governor Inslee is taking a bold step to strengthen our economy by rebuilding the middle class.

For too long, workers have not received their fair share of the economic activity they help generate. In spite of being one of the most productive economies in the world, wages and income for Washington state’s workers have stagnated (see chart), while companies have posted record profits and the stock market is at all-time highs.  The benefits of Washingtonians' hard work and productivity have largely gone to the richest one percent, whose income gains dwarf the gains made by people with lower and middle incomes (see chart).  

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This is not a sustainable model for a strong middle class.  Only when everyone benefits from growth will our economy fully thrive. An increase in the minimum wage is one important step toward reversing these damaging trends.  Even with the highest state minimum wage in the country, a worker supporting a family of three would be living in poverty if they worked full-time (see chart).  

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The vast amount of research on minimum wage increases shows that it boosts the incomes of low wage workers without hurting the economy or resulting in massive job loss.  In fact, it can stimulate the economy by increasing demand for local goods and services, which is good for businesses. Businesses need customers to thrive – the well-being of workers and business are interdependent.

If we say we value work in Washington state then we need to value workers.  An increase in the minimum wage is a crucial step of what should be a broad economic strategy to reduce income inequality, increase social mobility, and rebuild the middle class.   

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We are looking for an experienced Deputy Director to manage the internal operations of our team of policy analysts and communications and outreach experts. Our ideal candidate will have research and analysis experience as well as a commitment to team-building and staff development. Priority review will be given to candidates who apply by May 30. Find out more.

You're Invited

Join us and Partners for Our Children for "Forum on Poverty: The Impact on Children and Families" on May 26, 12-4 pm, in Burien. Our policy analyst Elena Hernandez will be a speaker at this forum that will discuss how we can advance policies that prevent intergenerational poverty. THIS EVENT IS FULL, but you can email Partners for Our Children to get on the waitlist. 

Our Legislative Agenda

Our agenda for the 2015-2017 biennium calls for an equitable, sustainable revenue system in addition to state investments that: promote a world-class education system; sustain a strong middle class; produce living-wage jobs, and ensure that all Washingtonians have equal opportunity to get ahead. 

Testimonies in Olympia

We testified in support of a number of important bills during the 2016 legislative session. Take a look:

  • Policy Analyst Elena Hernandez's testimony (at the 23:23 minute mark) on the House Bill that would take a two-generation approach to preventing poverty 
  • Associate Director of Fiscal Policy Andy Nicholas's testimony (at the 1:54:09 mark) on the House bill focused on aerospace-related tax breaks
  • Research and Policy Director Lori Pfingst's House testimony (at the 9:25 mark) and Senate testimony (at the 1:44:54 mark) on the two-generation approach to poverty prevention bill 

Budget Matters Summit

Thank you to all who attended our our Budget Matters 2015 policy summit. If you missed it (or would like to relive it), you can watch a highlight video of the summit or watch the full summit panel -- which featured a range of community leaders talking about how to advance racial equity in state policymaking.