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Topic: John Yackshaw

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January 29, 2014 at 6:09 AM

Reader Roundtable: Should Seattle move to a $15 minimum wage?

GABRIEL CAMPANARIO / THE SEATTLE TIMES

In November, voters in SeaTac approved a $15 minimum wage for airport-related work and now activists are taking that fight to Seattle. The issue is gaining national traction as well, with Obama pushing for a federal minimum wage of $10.10 in his State of the Union speech last night. Seattle Times readers debate the merits and downsides of raising the minimum wage to $15 in Seattle:

My small business would also be adversely affected

Thank you Judith Gille for stating so eloquently an important point that is being missed in the $15 an hour minimum wage discussion: the unintended consequences to small businesses like hers and mine, local businesses that make Seattle a special place to live [“A neighborhood business can’t support a $15 minimum wage,” Opinion, Jan. 27].

I have written to the mayor and the City Council expressing my concerns that a sudden and dramatic increase in what is already the biggest cost for most small businesses could be disabling. Large corporations with Seattle storefronts already enjoy many advantages due to their tremendous buying power and greater access to capital. Those advantages would allow them to absorb more easily this kind of dramatic change. It is small businesses that would be the most affected.

I don’t think you will find a small Seattle employer who does not support living wages because so many of us work long hours for very low pay, and so many of us have missed paychecks so that our employees and our businesses could keep moving forward. The $15 an hour minimum wage movement is grounded in good intentions, but the reality of the impact this kind of sudden change would have on small business has not been thoroughly considered.

Judy Neldam, owner of Grateful Bread

Small businesses have nothing to fear

I don’t think small businesses would have to worry about a shortage of good employees if the minimum wage were raised to $15.

Look at the economy: Our city’s unemployment rate is still above 5 percent, and even college graduates (such as guest columnist Sandi Halimuddin) are struggling to find full-time work.

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