Northwest News

$15 minimum wage could head to Tacoma ballot in 2015

Tacoma could be the state’s latest battleground for a $15 minimum wage.

The activist group 15 Now Tacoma filed a citizens initiative last month with the city clerk’s office.

City Clerk Doris Sorum said those who find fault with the ballot title can file with superior court through Dec. 19. If it remains unchallenged, the group can begin collecting signatures on Dec. 20.

The group has to collect at least 3,160 signatures by mid-June.

If the signatures are valid the City Council can elect to pass it. If not, then voters will decide the issue on November 2015.

According to the fine print of the proposed ordinance, businesses making $300,000 per year or less would not have to pay a $15 minimum wage. The issue would also establish a seven-member minimum wage commission, which would be tasked with reviewing the city’s enforcement of the wage.

The minimum wage would also receive a cost of living increase each year based on price increases in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellvue area. Washington state’s minimum wage is among the highest in the nation at $9.32.

People advocating for a $15 minimum wage here have appeared before the City Council a few times. In March the group held a rally to advocate for the cause.

Sarah Morken, an activist with the campaign, said the group filed the petition because they felt they had a better chance of passing a strong $15 minimum wage law quicker than by lobbying the City Council.

If passed, workers could see a $15 wage by January 2016, she said.

Read the full petition filed with the city below.

This story will be updated.