A new statewide poll indicates that Tim Eyman's latest initiative idea may not be viable.
As we first reported back in June, initiative hawker Tim Eyman plans to run an initiative overturning Seattle's new $15 minimum wage law.
Calling it "the fair and uniform minimum wage act," Eyman's proposed measure would grant sole wage-setting authority to the state, stipulating that "the minimum wage rate must be uniform and consistent for all employees who are employed by businesses, non-profits, and other entities throughout the state ... and any conflicting local minimum wage requirements are prohibited."
The PI's Joel Connelly has done some good reporting on Eyman's effort to raise money for the cause. Eyman's Fair and Uniform Minimum Wage Initiative got two $50,000 contributions from Garneau Properties' Faye Garneau and Fremont Dock's Suzie Burke, regular backers of conservative causes (and distirct elections) in Seattle.
The poll found that initiative 676—an initiative to the legislature to prohibit local minimum wages from exceeding the state minimum wage filed by Fernando Neuenschwander with, according to Neuenschwander, help from Eyman—is at 54 percent.
Conventional wisdom says initiative ideas need to start out above 60 percent to weather a tough campaign.
The poll also tested pro-minimum wage policy and found those ideas did much better. For example, "Maintain the right of cities and counties to enact a minimum wage higher than the wage required by the state" polled at 63 percent; and "Require all Washington employers to offer a $12 dollar minimum wage and at least five paid sick days to employees. The minimum wage increase would be phased in over four years" polled at 70 percent.
The memo concludes:
... I‐676 falls short when compared to proposed initiatives that create more opportunity and fairness for Washington’s working families. With only a slim majority backing I‐676, and with less than three‐in‐10 (27%) saying they support the law strongly, it falls well below our usual measure of viability. On the other hand, alternatives to I‐676 (including a law accomplishing the opposite—guaranteeing municipalities the right to set a higher minimum wage) are hugely popular with likely 2015 voters.