Proposition 1 Aims for $15 Minimum Wage by January

Proposition 1 is an initiative that will be on the Tacoma ballot in November. If passed, the city’s minimum wage would increase to $15 an hour on January 1st 2016, making Tacoma the first city in the U.S. with that high of a minimum pay for all citizens. Proposition 1 would also create a near-immediate spike in minimum wage that has not yet been seen anywhere in the country. Those that are in favor of raising minimum wage believe it would decrease the city’s poverty rate and local spending would go up. The opposition believes small businesses in the city would have to cut jobs and even shut their doors because they are not prepared for such a quick and drastic wage increase.Proposition 1 Tacoma Pros

15 Now

The largest party that has been formed in favor of Proposition 1 is “15 Now.” A national organization that allows people to create chapters in cities across America, “15 Now” fights for $15 minimum wages. Tacoma’s chapter has created a following through action group meetings that take place regularly.

“15 Now” believes Proposition 1 will give the Tacoma economy an overall boost. The website cites a report that 17.7% of Tacoma citizens live at or below the poverty level. Proposition 1 would work to pull many people from the poverty margin.

According to “15 Now,” raising the minimum wage would increase spending within the city. As Tacoma residents, they believe that a majority of their money will be spent on rent, mortgages, food, haircuts, and others local goods and services.  “15 Now” believes increased local spending would lead to an increased economy and a stronger Tacoma.

Proposition 1 Tacoma ConsKnow 15

The major opposition group to Proposition 1 is called “Know 15.” This locally formed group believes the raise in minimum wage would be too fast and small businesses are not prepared to pay their employees $15 an hour by January. Many believe that employers will have to let go of employees in order to cover the wage increase. “Know 15” believes some small businesses may have to find a new location because of the impact of the proposition. Cities that are gradually increasing wages to $15 an hour include Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. The plan for Tacoma would not take place over several years, making it unlike any other wage-raise plan in the country.

Another factor that sets Tacoma apart from the larger cities that are increasing minimum wage is the cost of housing. Average apartment rentals are nearly $800 more expensive in Seattle than Tacoma. Residents in San Francisco- the city with the nation’s highest current minimum wage- pay almost three times as much as Tacoma citizens for apartment rent. “Know 15” believes Tacoma is not yet in need of a $15 minimum wage due to the relatively low cost of living in the city.

According to the website, a near-immediate 58% increase in minimum wage is not necessary in a city that has a significant lower annual median income, median home price, and average apartment rent than Seattle.

Local Discussion

The magnitude of Proposition 1 makes it important for the community to communicate and understand the pros and cons of establishing a $15 minimum wage. Be sure to talk to local representatives and voice your opinion as well as communicate with other locals that care about the future of the Tacoma economy.