Nix the minimum-wage hike
Joseph Phillips, Dean, Albers School of Business and Economics, Seattle University
I am skeptical that state government can do much to jump-start employment in the short run. Given the current state budget, there are not many tools available, and the role of the state is to create an environment that supports job growth over the long term.
My idea is to kill the 37-cent increase in the minimum wage, which took effect January 1 and raised it to $9.04 per hour. Wow! How can the dean of the business school at a Jesuit university recommend such a thing? What about social justice?
Well, Washington has the highest minimum wage in the nation, well above the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Number two in the nation is Oregon, with a minimum wage of $8.80. Washington employers have already seen healthy increases in unemployment insurance premiums, health care costs and workers’ compensation. At some point, it adds up and discourages employment. We need a minimum-wage law, but set it too high and it stops helping those it is designed to help.
Find common ground
Phil Bussey, President and CEO, Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
For the past year, representatives from a diverse set of regional constituencies have been working to find common ground around job creation and economic development. They don’t always see eye to eye, yet they have agreed to a shared vision for sustainable prosperity and have committed to nine actions.
Their agenda includes no-brainers such as supporting Washington’s bid for the Boeing 737 MAX. Aerospace is vital to our state economy. We can and must do all we can to grow this vital industry.
At the same time, participants have agreed to tackle some of the region’s most insoluble issues, like breaking down the infamous “Cascade Curtain” and putting a price on process. They’ll advance new measures, such as making multiculturalism visible and prominent; creating a strategy to expand our role as “America’s global city,” and deploying a regional pride campaign.
Keep aerospace strong
J. Tayloe Washburn, Co-chair, Washington Aerospace Partnership
Boeing announced in June 2011 that it will build a new airplane, the 737 MAX, but until recently it had not said where the company will build it. This “unknown” represented one of our most serious economic challenges in many generations. Washington state is fortunate that