Businesses in Washington planning for higher minimum wage

(KPTV image)

VANCOUVER, WA (KPTV) – The approaching new year will bring a significant change for businesses in Washington and their employees.

For the third straight year, the state’s minimum wage is increasing, from $12 to $13.50 per hour.

Gary Paul, who owns Trusty Brewing in Vancouver, predicts a significant impact on small businesses like his.

“Prices will be going up all the way across the board in every industry. And we’ll see increased prices everywhere,” Paul said.

Because the bar and restaurant industry employs primarily minimum wage workers, those businesses are bracing for the impact of the wage increase.

“Ultimately, we support it, because we support the staff. It’s going to be hard on us,” said Stephen Dean, who owns and operates Brickhouse Bar and Restaurant with his wife.

Deans expects he’ll have to increase beer and food prices to defray the cost of the wage increase.

Two studies by researchers at the University of Washington looked into the impact of wage increases in Seattle, which has a minimum wage higher than the rest of the state.

One study found child care centers increased tuition and reduced staff hours as a result of the wage increases.

The second study found no noticeable increases in food prices at supermarkets that could be tied to the wage increases.

As for the Washington restaurant industry, Deans said he and other business owners will likely look for ways to run more efficiently.

“We do lose some hours. Employees do lose some hours here or there,” said Deans.

After 2020, future increases to Washington’s minimum wage will be calculated by the state’s Department of Labor and Industries, based on the Federal Consumer Price Index.

Copyright 2019 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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(3) comments

FullMTLjacket

““Ultimately, we support it, because we support the staff. It’s going to be hard on us,” said Stephen Dean, who owns and operates Brickhouse Bar and Restaurant with his wife.”

She is lying here. Clearly she is afraid to speak out against this because of the backlash she would receive from people on the political left. You can (and she is) supporting her current staff at the wage they were receiving. Just because you do not support a minimum wage increase doesn’t mean you do not support your staff. How would she be supporting her staff if she had to fire someone because the new cost of labor doesn’t match the value she is bringing in? Free markets need to be left alone.

Kire

Sadly, the minimum wage employees need to brace for smaller paychecks too. History and recent experience shows that minimum wage increases result in smaller paychecks for minimum wage employees. This is because the marketplace sets the value of the products produced. When the cost of producing the product goes up and the market does not see increased value, the business closes or must reduce costs. Business closure or reduced product costs both result in smaller employee paychecks. Simple, basic economics folks. Wishful thinking will not change the facts. The only way for minimum wage employees to increase the size of their paychecks is to move beyond minimum wage employment. There are lots of tax payer funded, and many employer funded, training programs available so people can advance into family wage jobs (jobs the marketplace decides are worth higher paychecks).

Yossarian

So let me get this straight.. if prices go up 'all across the board' then the people that get an increase in wage will need another increase in wage. Hahahahahaha

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