Washington D.C. Likely to Increase Minimum Wage to $11.50
The Washington D.C. city council is expected to authorize a bill that would raise the city’s minimum wage to $11.50 by the summer of 2016. The vote is expected to be held as early as December and would give the nation’s capital and its 630,000 residents one of the highest minimum wages in the country. The national minimum wage currently stands at $7.25 and Washington’s is currently $8.25.
The bill, being worked on by councilman Vincent Orange, a D.C. mayoral candidate, is expected to be the combination of four minimum wage bills that the council is considering. Orange says that he prefers a minimum wage increase to $12.50 but expects more support for the $11.50 bill.
Orange had, actually, pushed through a living wage bill that would force large businesses to pay their employees at least $12.50 per hour. The bill passed the council but was vetoed by Mayor Vincent Gray who argued the bill would kill jobs. Wal-Mart lobbied hard to defeat the bill, announcing it would not build three proposed stores in the city.
The expected version of D.C.’s new minimum wage bill is expected to raise the minimum wage to $9.50 by January, $10.50 by July of 2015, and $11.50 by July of 2016. Mayor Gray has been non-committal on whether he would sign the bill or not. Many around Washington still want a $12.50 minimum wage and are pushing for the issue to appear on the 2014 ballot as a voter initiative.
Washington is the latest in a number of major cities to consider a significant minimum wage hike. In Seattle, Mayor Mike McGinn has come out in support of an increase to $15 per hour. A Seattle suburb, Sea-Tac, which houses the Seattle airport, recently passed a minimum wage increase to $15. Among major cities, San Francisco currently has the highest minimum wage at $10.74 per hour, expected to increase to around $11.25 by 2016. Santa Fe, New Mexico comes in a close second with a minimum wage of $10.29 per hour. San Jose, Calif. has also passed a minimum wage increase to $10.