Schmudget Blog

Weakening the Minimum Wage Not Good for Economy or Workers

Posted by Lori Pfingst at Jan 31, 2013 07:40 PM |

The proposed “training wage” that would lower the minimum wage for new workers would undermine economic security for Washingtonians and weaken our economy.

Under  proposals being considered by the Legislature, House Bill 1150 and Senate Bill 5275, new workers could be paid less than the minimum wage ($6.89 per hour instead of $9.19 per hour), for up to 680 hours of work.  

Protections for workers, such as the minimum wage, support a strong middle class. Lowering it, particularly at a time when someone is entering or returning to the workforce, would mean individuals and families would not be able to meet basic monthly needs as determined by the state (see graph). A person  working 40 hours per week, for example, could only cover 92 percent of basic needs like food and shelter, and a family of four would be able to meet just half (50 percent) of their basic needs.

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Paying workers less than what they need to cover basic needs hurts family economic security and independence, potentially leading to more need for support services like Basic Food and WorkFirst. A strong economy is dependent on the economic security of individuals and families.  In such a weak economy, lawmakers should be focused on supporting workers, not undermining them.
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2015-17 Legislative Agenda

Our 2015-17 Legislative Agenda calls for an equitable and sustainable revenue system in addition to state investments that will promote a world-class education system, sustain a strong, inclusive middle class, produce high quality, living wage jobs, and ensure equal opportunity to live healthy and productive lives.  Take a closer look here.

Budget Matters 2014

Thank you to those who made Budget Matters 2014 a success! Stay tuned for pictures, video clips and PowerPoints from this year's conference.

Legislative Testimony

Senior Budget Analyst Kim Justice recently testified before Senate Ways and Means against a bill that would fund education at the expense of other budget investments. Watch it here. 

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