Oklahoma kills local minimum wage hikes

By Neal McNamara | April 16, 2014
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, who this week signed a law that would only allow the state government to set minimum wage.

The debate over minimum wage is getting bigger – or smaller, depending on your outlook.

Host David Boze reported on Tuesday that in Oklahoma, the state government has removed the power of cities and counties from setting the minimum wage, making it an official state duty.

That law – which Republican Gov. Mary Fallin gleefully signed into law – arose after activists in Oklahoma City began a campaign to raise the wage from $7.25 to $10.10 (the latter figure is what President Barack Obama wants as the federal minimum).

Now, Oklahoma City will have to obey state law instead of going rogue, as Seattle and SeaTac have done in this state.

“In Oklahoma, they’re taking care of business,” Boze said. “The rest of the state reacted and said, ‘We need uniformity of wages.’”

So, could that same kind of law happen in Washington?

“I think Washington state will do the same,” Boze said. “I think it’s possible that Washington will approach this in a similar fashion – there’s no doubt the $15 Now crowd would like to see the whole state reach $15 … now.”

Meanwhile at ground zero, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has told the committee he formed to come up with a minimum wage plan to ‘hurry up’ or he’ll release his own plan. From the Seattle Times:

“Committee members and other observers at Tuesday’s meeting said there are deep divisions over key elements of a minimum-wage proposal, including business’ desire that tips and other forms of compensation be counted toward a $15 minimum.

The two sides also are at odds over how long a phase-in would last, and whether different sizes of business should be treated differently.

Murray’s office declined to say how the mayor’s proposal might deal with those issues if the committee doesn’t come to an agreement.”

Some on the mayor’s panel, Boze said, are pushing for a 10-year phase in of a $15 minimum wage – an idea that $15 Now activists would almost certainly reject.

“That’s another way of saying, ‘I can’t do it, it’s too expensive, I’ll have to wait for inflation to take care of it.’ Then the mayor is threatening to just do it, but he hasn’t said what he’ll do.”

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