Minimum wage in Washington will rise to $9.04 in January

Oct 2, 2011

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Despite a slow economic recovery, inflation is up. That means Washington’s minimum wage will increase to more than $9 an hour starting in January.

That was the announcement Friday from the state. The wage hike is based on a voter approved initiative that links the minimum wage to inflation.

Outside a Jack-in-the-Box restaurant in Olympia, Jared was taking out the trash. He wouldn't give his last name because he's not supposed to talk to reporters.

But he's pleased to hear he’ll get a nearly 40-cent-per-hour raise come January. "Just easier to live," he says.

At the Washington Restaurant Association a different reaction.

"It's not surprising news, but it's tough news," says Anthony Anton, president and CEO of the organization. He says for his members this increase from the current $8.67 an hour to $9.04 is a burden.

He says in bad economic times there ought to be limits.

"Should our minimum wage go up when our unemployment is over 8 percent?" he asks.
"Should our minimum wage go up for teenagers in these kinds of times?"

Washington’s minimum wage is linked to the Consumer Price Index and is already the highest in the nation. The second highest is Oregon where the rate will rise 30-cents to $8.80 an hour next year.

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