OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington already has the highest state minimum wage in the country, and Gov. Jay Inslee says it should go even higher.
Inslee said in his State of the State address Tuesday that too many parents with full-time jobs are struggling to put food on the table for their families. Inslee didn't propose a specific minimum wage, but he suggested it should be somewhere between $10.82 and $11.82 cents an hour.
"An increase in minimum wage means more money being spent in our economy," Inslee, a Democrat, said in prepared remarks.
Washington's minimum wage is currently $9.32 an hour and rises steadily thanks to a voter-approved initiative.
State Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane, said he was "very concerned" about any proposal to increase the minimum wage, arguing the best anti-poverty program the state can pursue is ensuring people keep jobs.
He said people and businesses in his district are competing on the border with Idaho, which has a minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
The minimum wage issue has been prominent in Washington state politics recently.
In November voters in the airport city of SeaTac narrowly approved a measure granting a $15 an hour minimum wage for many workers. The measure applied to workers at the airport and related industries, like hotels and rental car companies.