SEATTLE -- On the November ballot is a big statewide measure to hike the minimum wage across Washington by $4 an hour. It would rise to $13.50 by 2020. The measure would also give employees up to 7 days of paid sick leave a year.
Many businesses worry about the added costs and mandates, but a lot of workers say higher pay and benefits are long overdue.
“There’s not a single community in Washington today where you can afford to live free of government assistance on our minimum wage of $9.47,” said David Rolf, head of SEIU Local 775, who supports the measure.
But Anthony Anton, president of the Washington Restaurant Association, argues that $13.50 is too steep for areas outside of Seattle where the economy isn’t as robust.
“Small restaurants have a profit margin of 4%,” he said, “so when you increase their costs in excess of 4%, that’s a math problem, something has to give.”
Both Rolf and Anton participated in a debate at Q13 News. The debate will broadcast in full on 'Q13 News This Morning' on Sunday.