Baumgartner protects Eastern Washington – will not move minimum wage bill

Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane, chair of the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee said March 31 that a measure increasing Washington minimum wage, already the highest state minimum wage in the country, will not pass his committee and will not reach the Senate floor.

“This proposed minimum wage increase would be devastating to countless small businesses,” Baumgartner said. “I won’t put people in Eastern Washington out of work to placate the egos of extreme Seattle liberals. Yesterday’s testimony in the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee highlighted the grave future many of these businesses are facing, especially those in border communities like Spokane.”

Earlier this year the House passed House Bill 1355, championed by many Seattle-area representatives, which would raise the minimum wage from $9.47 to $12 an hour.

“There are two Washingtons,” Baumgartner continued. “In one Washington, Seattle’s economy is booming while in the other, the not-Seattle part, the economy is suffering. Unemployment in Spokane County is twice as high as the unemployment rate in King County. We can’t let these extreme liberal, one-size-fits-all solutions that might be O.K. for Seattle impact the fragile economic recovery of the rest of the state.”