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Weakening the Minimum Wage Not Good for Economy or Workers

Posted by Lori Pfingst at Jan 31, 2013 02:40 PM |
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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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Watch the Budget Matters Plenary 

View the Budget Matters 2016 conference plenary panel, "What's at Stake in the 2017-2019 Budget: Funding McCleary and Beyond," on TVW. Moderated by Ann Dornfeld of KUOW with a budget overview by our own Andy Nicholas, the panel features Nathan Gibbs-Bowling, the 2016 Washington State Teacher of the Year; Lew Moore of the Washington Research Council; Roxana Norouzi of OneAmerica; and Sen. Christine Rolfes. The plenary starts after a brief intro by Executive Director Misha Werschkul and an intro video by Gov. Inslee.

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:

  • Our testimony (at the 23:23 minute mark) on the House Bill that would take a two-generation approach to preventing poverty 
  • Our testimony (at the 1:54:09 mark) on the House bill focused on aerospace-related tax breaks
  • Our 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 

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