City leaders in SeaTac say they've noticed little impact on the overall economy one year after voters increased the hourly minimum wage to $15.
City leaders in SeaTac say they’ve noticed little impact on the overall economy one year after voters increased the hourly minimum wage to $15.
KING-TV reports (http://kng5.tv/175a7va ) an estimated 1,500 total workers saw their minimum wage increase under the new law, including 400 who live in the city limits.
City manager Todd Cutts says there has been no impact on sales tax or property tax, and no change in the number of business licenses issued.
The law requires hoteliers with more than 100 rooms to pay workers $15 an hour. Scott Ostrander, former general manager of the Cedarbrook Lodge in SeaTac, said before the law was passed he would close several rooms in his hotel to avoid having to comply. However Cedarbrook Lodge is now moving forward with a 63-room expansion and recently started paying the $15 per hour minimum wage.
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Paul Guppy, researcher at the Washington Policy Center, said some employers are removing benefits like free meals to make up for the wage increase.
“We’re not seeing the big benefits that proponents said we would because so few people are affected,” said Guppy. “And at the same time, it’s not having a ripple effect through the economy. It just affects so few jobs, it’s not having much impact.”
The state Supreme Court is expected to decide soon whether Port of Seattle workers at Sea-Tac Airport will be included in the wage increase. That would increase the number of people affected by the $15 per hour minimum wage to around 6,500.