City Hall

Murray Announces Universal Pre-K and Minimum Wage Proposals

In a big week for the mayor, Ed Murray announces proposals to fund universal pre-kindergarten and a $15 minimum wage.

By Erica C. Barnett May 15, 2014

Mayor Ed Murray announced two big initiatives today. In a major win for the new mayor (and much in contrast to his predecessor Mike McGinn, whose early days in office were marked by several missteps that angered council members), both are supported by a majority of the city council. 

he first is a proposal, which has five current council co-sponsors, to pass a four-year, $14.5-million-per-year property tax levy that will fund preschool education for most Seattle three- and four-year-olds (annual cost per average homeowner: $3.63 a month)

The second: A proposal, which has eight council co-sponsors, to increase the minimum wage in the city to $15 an hour, phased in over three, four, five, or seven years, depending on the sizee of an employer and on whether that employer provides health care or bonuses, or if their employees receive tips, which can count toward "total compensation."

Earlier today, as we reported, city council member Kshama Sawant was one of the first people to sign a petition for a new $15 minimum wage initiative that would kick in immediately, with no tip credit or total compensation and only a three-year phase-in period for small employers—defined as those with fewer than 250 workers, as opposed to Murray's legislation, which defines small businesses as those with fewer than 500 employees. 

Although Sawant's spokesman Philip Locker said she will not be co-sponsoring Murray's legislation, it remains unclear whether she will vote for it or be the sole council member to oppose it. 

The city council will take up Murray's minimum-wage legislation on May 22 at 12pm. 



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