To the Editor:
When I gave my State of the State last month, I spoke about the diminishing prosperity for hundreds of thousands of working Washingtonians and the need to increase Washington's minimum wage. Every job offers dignity, but not every job offers a living wage.
When President Obama gave his State of the Union last week he also made a clear statement: It's long past time to increase the minimum wage. The president took what action he could by himself, mandating a raise in the minimum wage paid to federal contractors. But he made it equally clear that states shouldn't wait for Congress to act to take care of the rest of American workers.
Here in Washington state, we're not waiting. Just this (past) week, a bill to increase our state minimum wage was heard in the state House of Representatives.
But we need to make sure everyone in Olympia hears our chorus of support for raising the Washington minimum wage.
Washington’s economy is beginning to grow again. We’re making progress. But fewer and fewer people are sharing in that growth. The overwhelming majority of minimum wage workers are working adults -- people who take care of our aging parents, handle our luggage, or prepare our food. These full-time workers should not receive a wage that forces them to choose between feeding their families and paying rent.
Nobel prize-winning economists agree: A modest increase in the minimum wage won't cost jobs, but will help struggling workers and, in turn, help our state economy.
As we’ve seen repeatedly, we cannot wait for Congress and Washington, D.C. I’m working with our legislators to find a solution that’s right for our state and our people. Washington families can't afford for us to fall short.
This is such an important issue for lifting people out of poverty and reducing inequality for so many families.