Governor Inslee Says It's Time For Statewide Minimum Wage Discussion

Dec 19, 2013

Gov. Jay Inslee says it’s time for a discussion on raising the state’s already highest-in-the-nation minimum wage. The Democrat’s comments Thursday come in the wake of a vote in the city of SeaTac and a new push by Seattle Mayor-Elect Ed Murray to raise the local minimum wage to $15 per hour.

The governor stopped short of calling for a $15 statewide minimum wage.

“I don’t have any particular number in mind right now. This is something we need to have a conversation about,” Inslee said.

Inslee says Washington’s base wage is not keeping pace even though it’s already the nation’s highest rate and has a built-in annual escalator.

“Look, Henry Ford understand that he had to pay his people decent so they could buy his cars so, yes, I think that having a healthy minimum wage is an actual good thing for the Washington state economy,” he said.

Inslee says the minimum wage should be part of a broader discussion about income inequality in an era of globalization.

Earlier this year, Don Brunell of the Association of Washington Business argued the long-term solution is economic growth.

“Trying to artificially impose higher wages will slow job creation —the opposite of what we need and want,” he said.