Suddenly, the Democrats who dominate the Washington, D.C., City Council seem unwilling to increase the minimum wage for tipped workers — despite their official support for legislative minimum wage rate increases.
And a vote of the citizens.
Initiative 77, which passed easily last month, requires restaurant employers to incrementally increase the “tipped wage” until rates “reach what will be the uniform minimum of $15 an hour by 2025.”
“Initiative 77 is something I believe will be very harmful to our restaurants and, more importantly, our restaurant workers,” argues Councilman Jack Evans, one of three council members pledging repeal.
A spokesperson for One Fair Wage DC, calling a repeal “deeply undemocratic,” notes that “D.C. voters don’t like it when Republicans in Congress do it, and we trust council will not stoop to that level.”
Yet it would not be “the first time the city’s lawmakers overturned a decision by the electorate,” the Washington Post reminds readers, citing “a decision in 2001 when the D.C. Council overturned term limits approved by voters.”*
I’m all for ballot measures to decide any issue the people have a right to decide . . . limited by all of our inalienable rights as individuals. Minimum wage laws constitute an abuse of our First Amendment right to association, which neither legislatures nor voters may legitimately abridge.
That the council doesn’t recognize this right of association, yet nonetheless thinks it should nullify a vote of the people tells you everything you need to know about the sorry state of representation.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
* And even quoting moi on the incredible hypocrisy dating back 17 years: “If you’re in a city struggling to get representation in the first place, that’s a terrible signal to say that your own local officials don’t respect their own citizens.”