City Hall

Anti–$15 Minimum Wage Group "Proceeding" Despite Rule Barring 2014 Ballot Measure

A group of small businesses opposed to the $15 minimum wage says it's "proceeding as is" with a 2014 ballot measure despite city rules limiting charter initiatives to odd years.

By Erica C. Barnett June 9, 2014

A group of small businesses organized as Forward Seattle, which has proposed an amendment to the city charter that would replace the $15 minimum wage passed by the city council and signed by mayor Ed Murray with a $12.50 minimum wage phased in over five years, says it plans to "proceed as is" with its proposal for a 2014 ballot measure, despite the fact that city law only allows charter amendments to go on the ballot in odd years (which 2014, obviously, is not). 

Forward Seattle's proposal —which is separate from the pending Tim Eyman attempt to repeal Seattle's $15 minimum wage that Fizz reported on last week—would exempt small businesses and include a “tip credit,” allowing employers to count tips as part of an employee’s hourly wage, and would count things like bonuses, commissions, and profit-sharing toward “total compensation."

Kathrina Tugadi, the co-owner of El Norte Lounge and Mr. Villa Mexican Restaurant in north Seattle, tells PubliCola that Forward Seattle has—like 15 Now, the Socialist-backed group that backed a shorter phase-in for a $15 minimum wage with no tip credit or other concessions like total compensation—been gathering signatures for months without the city informing them that a 2014 ballot measure was impossible. (15 Now has declared victory because of the measure the council passed, and has dropped its effort to collect signatures). 

"You'd think with all the lawyers the city attorney would have have said something," Tugadi says.
"We're proceeding as is. I think you need to ask the city attorney and the city clerk why they approved the ballot title ... but we're proceeding as is with what the public thinks, that this is for November 2014."

So far, according to the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission, Forward Seattle has raised just over $9,100.


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