Manweller, House Republicans warn minimum wage increase would stifle economic opportunity

Legislator: Rep. Matt Manweller
Run Time: 91 seconds
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The State House of Representatives voted along party lines Tuesday to increase the Washington’s minimum wage to 12-dollars-per hour over four years. Republicans who voted against the measure warned it could hurt economic opportunity. John Sattgast reports from Olympia.

Sattgast: For nearly an hour-and-a-half, Democrats and Republicans debated in the House chamber over a bill that would raise the state’s minimum wage to 12-dollars an hour. Democrats said adults struggle to make ends meet under Washington’s current minimum wage of nine-47 an hour, which is the highest in the nation. They also argued raising the minimum wage would have little effect against jobs and that it would actually help the state’s economy. But Republican State Representative Matt Manweller called the arguments bogus.

Manweller: “I’ve also been told, Mr. Speaker, that if we raise the minimum wage, it will actually have a stimulus effect. As if somehow, if I take five dollars from the member to my left and I hand it to a member of my right, there is magically more dollars on the House floor. [laughter] That’s amazing! If you believe that, please go home to someplace that has a pool – dump a bucket of water – dump a bucket in one side of the pool and then empty that bucket in the other side of the pool, and tell me how long you had to do that before you realize there was not more water in the pool.  Just water that had moved around. None of these arguments make intellectual sense.”

Sattgast: Representative Matt Manweller of Ellensburg. Other Republicans warned it would price out entry-level jobs for young people. Representative Drew MacEwen, who owns restaurants in Mason County, said it would leave him and other business owners only three choices: raise prices, lay off workers, or close altogether.

The bill passed 51-46, with Republicans voting no.

John Sattgast, Olympia.


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