As popular support for a $15 minimum wage continues to grow, Seattle's small-business community has grown ever more fearful.
In an open letter to Mayor Ed Murray and the task force he's assembled to study the minimum-wage issue, the Broadway Business Owners Association recently declared that it "unanimously opposes a $15 minimum wage," asserting that "a 60% increase in employee wages would create an extreme hardship," forcing the closure of some small family-owned businesses.
It is a fear that restaurateur Dave Meinert—who insists he supports raising the minimum wage—was quick to repeat. Sitting in the bar at Capitol Hill's Lost Lake Cafe, which he owns, Meinert counted up his fixed costs and thin margins before declaring: "If I had to go to $15 across the board tomorrow, I'd close."
But it is unlikely to come to that, for a number of reasons.