A measure to raise Tacoma’s minimum wage to $15 an hour has qualified for the November ballot, while the City Council plans to consider an alternate proposal.
TACOMA — An initiative to raise Tacoma’s minimum wage to $15 an hour has qualified for the November ballot.
The Pierce County auditor’s staff has verified that petitions submitted by the 15 Now group contained 3,231 valid signatures of registered Tacoma voters, The News Tribune newspaper reported. An additional 2,304 signatures were declared invalid for a variety of reasons.
The requirement is 3,160 valid signatures to get a citizen initiative on the ballot in Tacoma.
Under the city charter, the Tacoma City Council can approve Proposition 1 as written or forward it to voters. The council cannot modify the proposal.
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The council has convened a task force to develop an alternative measure that could also appear on the ballot.
Alan Stancliff, a 15 Now volunteer, said Friday his group is moving ahead with its campaign.
“Speaking for myself, I don’t see any reason to abandon Proposition 1,” Stancliff said. “We have a responsibility to the low-wage workers of Tacoma.”
Under the proposed 15 Now measure, businesses making gross revenues of $300,000 per year or more would have to pay a $15 minimum wage with no phase-in period or exceptions based on a business’s number of employees.
Stancliff wouldn’t rule out the 15 Now Tacoma group withdrawing its measure if the task force comes up with an acceptable proposal.
But City Clerk Doris Sorum said it’s unclear whether a city initiative, once qualified, can be withdrawn. Lawyers are researching the question.
The deadline for submitting measures for the November ballot is Aug. 4.
Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland, after prompting by the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, called for the creation of a city task force last month. She and other City Council members chose 17 people, including two alternates, to develop a counterproposal to the 15 Now ballot measure.
The task force plans to finish its work by June 30, and make a recommendation to the City Council.