August 13, 2014
Vol: 21 No: 33

Community & Editorial

Neighborhoods to benefit from higher minimum wage

Letter to the editor from Daniel Collins / Seattle, WA

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Raising the minimum wage in Seattle helps people but even more it will benefit the life of our unique urban neighborhoods: Capitol Hill; Beacon Hill; Fremont; Rainier Valley. In San Jose, they found unemployment decreased citywide while the number of registered retailers increased by 19 percent after an increase in the minimum wage, according to Puget Sound Sage analysis. There were similar advances in other cities that boldly bumped their wages up. 

Conversely, the Brookings blog says that when these wage hikes become real, businesses within the wage-hike boundary will be at a competitive disadvantage to their suburban counterparts and businesses may move. That theory is partially true. Large, corporate and franchised goods and services retailers that often contribute little to local neighborhoods will likely re-locate to the suburbs, in their misguided efforts to “keep things cheap.” This will leave our more localized, neighborhood goods -and-services businesses with a larger piece of the urban market pie. If local businesses weather the short-term increase in labor costs they will reap the rewards in terms of better quality staffing, lower turnover rates, larger market share and more people buying locally their “unique” goods and services.  I emphasize unique because our neighborhoods are primarily residential and are changing quickly to accommodate more people.  I welcome this minimum wage hike; it will ultimately improve our urban quality of life.

Daniel Collins / Seattle

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