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Minimum wage at $15 an hour: Would it help or hurt?

Minimum wage: Residents of SeaTac, Wash., will vote on hiking the minimum wage in November. At issue is whether a higher minimum wage would dim job prospects for young and unskilled workers.

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A Seattle police officer explains arrest procedure to a group protesting what they say are low wages and improper treatment for fast-food workers on Aug. 1. Washington already has the nation’s highest state minimum wage at $9.19 an hour. Now, there’s a push in one city to make it $15.

Elaine Thompson/AP/File

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Should the minimum wage go up to $15 an hour? That’s the question that’s suddenly in play in the Seattle area.

Residents of SeaTac, the city that's home to the Seattle-Tacoma airport, will have a ballot vote on that idea this November. And others in the region, from venture capitalist Nick Hanauer to Seattle politicians, are backing wider moves to boost bottom-rung pay.

If $15 sounds high, it's because it is more than double the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

 

States and cities are free to pass higher minimums, and Washington State already has the highest minimum wage in the US, a $9.19 hourly rate that rises with inflation each year.

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