Raising the D.C. minimum wage to $15 by 2020 would lift wages for 114,000 working people

A proposed ballot initiative would gradually raise Washington DC's minimum wage to $15 by mid-2020.

It would also help tipped workers, such as waiters and bartenders, eventually get paid the full minimum wage, instead of the $2.77 subminimum wage.

This proposal would raise wages for 114,000 working people—about 14 percent of all D.C. workers, and over one-fifth of D.C. private-sector workers.

Once the minimum wage reaches $15, the average affected worker would earn roughly $2,900 more each year than he or she does now.

The is not the stereotype of low-wage workers being teenagers working to earn spending money.

The ones who would benefit are overwhelmingly adult workers, and are supporting families of their own.


warrior0713's picture
warrior0713 6 years 46 weeks ago

Backing HRC incrementalism is a disservive to we the people and your failure to discuss the elephant been in the room since 9/11 a crime committed by neocons every agency our corrupted government and your failure and same goes for the entire network claim truth to power excuse me cowardice face our enemy war profiteers wall street and the neocons running empire our dwindling wealth while we get and pay all the bills they steal all the olil fields gold minerals etc.Minium wage needs be increased much sooner as you well know and failure to state is another disservice by you to all who listen to you as I do far less since your obvious sold we the people out.

africangreysrule47's picture
africangreysrule47 6 years 46 weeks ago

So that presents an interesting problem for state workers. I am state employee in Arizona and because it seems our wages are locked by the Legislature, and have been stuck for close to 15 years, what happens to us if the Legislature fails to act on a 15.00 minimum wage? I honestly think the loons in the reins of power will send a big middle finger salute to the Fed's if that were to be the case, because this is the land of the yahoos and gun nuts. They don't care about doing the right thing, they care on doing an only for them thing. Anything to embarass the Dem's. I went to my Legislator, Governor, Dept agency, and the Dept of Administration and basically lent a deaf ear. Just one of those really big fish that are so big, they really don't seem themselves every getting caught to perform an action that actually benefits the people that need it the most. 13.00/hour really sucks.. I work two jobs; 65 hours a week... and that really should NOT be the norm.. but unfortunately it is in Arizona. Home of the 2nd most rudest city (Phoenix--Thank you to Paul Babeu and Joe Arpio)

Edward J. Dodson's picture
Edward J. Dodson 6 years 46 weeks ago

Raising the minimum wage will certainly benefit some individuals, but for many the primary benefit will eventually go to their landlord in the form of higher apartment rental charges. Because of systemic problems with tax policies, broad increases in incomes of any group are capitalized into higher land values, which are passed on in the form of higher apartment rents and higher residential property prices. The group that will benefit most are young working adults living with parents (unless their parents decide to increase whatever they are charging their adult children to live "at home." To really benefit lower-income individuals and households, what is needed are policies that dramatically increase the supply of affordable rental housing, first, and ownership opportunities, second.

The traditional approach since the end of the Second World War has been to provide public subsidies to developers or to use broad-based taxes and revenue sharing to construct and manage publicly-owned rental housing. This has proven ineffective in the face of a rapidly increasing population, and, in particular, the dramatic increase in single-person households. Moreover, Republicans have voted against increased funding for such housing subsidies.

The one real solution to the problem is offered in the form of changes in tax policy. Local governments and school districts should move over some period of time to a land-only property tax base. What this will do is reduce the potential to profit from land speculation and increase the annual cost of holding land idle. Thus, as more land is brought to the market and developed to its highest, best use, land prices will come down making it less costly to construct housing affordable to more individuals while still maintaining acceptable profit margins to developers.

The positive effects would be further enhanced by elimination of the beneficial tax treatment of so-called "capital gains" over the rates imposed on wages and salaries. The rate differential actually rewards gains derived from speculation and passive investment. Actual capital goods (e.g., buildings, machinery, technologies, etc.) do not resell for more than their cost of acquisition. They depreciate in resale value over time and in functional utility (unless here is a constant systems upgrades and detailed attention to maintenance).

More could be done to reward the production of housng (and other goods) over gains from what former World Bank economist Joseph Stiglitz and other insightful economists describe as the "rent-seeking" incentives vested interests have managed to secure under our tax laws for many decades. For example, tax simplifcation of federal and state individual income taxation, combined with real progressivity would capture more rent-derived income while lessening the tax burden on earned income.

Tom Dorricott's picture
Tom Dorricott 6 years 46 weeks ago

Raising the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour in Washington DC by mid 2020 will not really be such a big increase, if, as stated, the average worker's annual wages will only increase $ 2900 annually when the wage reaches $ 15.00 per hour. Assuming a 40 hour work week, the annual wage at 15 per hour would be $ 30,600.00. If this is only, on average, a $ 2900 annual difference, that means the present average wage of those affected is already $ 13.57 per hour. To raise $13.57 per hour to $ 15.00 per hour in four years only requires a compounded 2.7% increase a year, which is not particularly substantial and shows that D.C. is not a low wage city with alot of heads of households earning less that $ 8.00 per hour. Therefore, this wage increase should not not be harmful to higher wage workers due to inflationary factors, or pose an undue burden on businesses. However, the unintended consequences of this law might be the "freezing out" of less skilled and less educated workers from the market place. As employers forced to pay $15.00 will seek (and be able to find) better educated, higher skilled employees who don't need additional training, can perform multiple tasks, and who don't have child care concerns, those now making only the Federal minimum wage will most likely be replaced by college studentts, senior citizens, or suburban high schoolers now attracted to the higher wage of $ 15.00 per hour. It will be interesting to see what happens to the DC workforce, and employment, in the next four years.

A much better way to bring adults out of poverty in America, rather than piecemeal attempts to raise the minimum wage in select municipalities would be to significantly raise the Earned Income Tax Credit to the equvalent of $ 15.00 per hour, paid quarterly, for adult US citizen heads of household. This would target those who truly need this increase, without having to raise the minimum wage for children living at home, part-timers, and non-citizens. This would also not have the job -killing effect many fear that significantly raising the minimum wage would, and be politically more palatable to those on both sides of the Congressional aisle.

Robertcd's picture
Robertcd 6 years 46 weeks ago

Currantly in Washington state 15$ an hour is way too little, espcially in the area around Seattle/Tacoma. Housing is going through the roof, many can't even afford an Apt at $20 per hour. By mid 2020 just 15$ will be starvation wages by then. But then that''s plan, cause mass starvation turn eveyone into the extreme poor. And even those who are employed many are part time or in jobs via vendors with no benifits, and can only get contract work anymore. Which means they are out of a job every 3-12 months and looking again. This country is becoming a nightmare along with most of the world. But that's the top 1%'s plan huh.

ChicagoMatt 6 years 46 weeks ago

Wouldn't everyone else up the scale also need a pay raise? If the cashier makes $10 an hour, and the manager makes $15 an hour, then when the cashier gets bumped up to $15 an hour, the manager would need to be bumped up to about $23 an hour to maintain the same ratio, right?

Otherwise, why take on the responsibilities of management, if you're going to make the same as the cashier?

Dr. Econ's picture
Dr. Econ 6 years 45 weeks ago

Sure. Hopefully the return to labor will go up, and the return to capital fall a bit.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 6 years 45 weeks ago

Tom D - Have you made any computations for how much the EIC would help a couple with one child and each earning $14 for example, or any other such computations?

Of course, as you have mentioned in other blogs what we really need is stronger unions. Card check came so close to becoming law, it seems that it would be politically viable. With strong unions, they could force a 35 hour work week and tariffs. The only problem would be that the union bosses may be making 2 or 3 times what their workers make.

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