Tacoma business group makes the case for $19.85 minimum wage!

The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce sent out mailers and launched a website that seem to be intended to convince Tacoma voters that a $15/hour minimum wage is too much compared to the city’s cost of living. However, their figures make the opposite case.

Zooming in…

If you look close, you'll see that the Chamber figures that “apartment rental” in Tacoma is $1032/month. So: what wage does a Tacoma worker need to afford the rent

The standard for housing affordability is paying no more than 30% of your gross monthly income to rent. That means you’d need a full-time job paying $19.85/hour to afford the rent in Tacoma. (1) 

On the other hand, if you’re paid the statewide minimum wage of $9.47/hour, you need to work almost 84 hours a week to afford rent in Tacoma. Again, this is according to the Chamber of Commerce’s own info. (2)

In other words: the case for higher wages is so strong that even opponents can’t help but support it!

Think they’re about to launch a $19.85now initiative?



(1) Here’s the math on $19.85/hour: 

  • $1032/month = $12,384/year in rent. 
  • $12,384 / 30% = $41,280/year to afford that rent at 30% of gross income
  • $41,280 a year / 2080 hours a year for a full-time worker = $19.85/hour 

(2) Here’s the math on 84 hours/week:

  • $1032/month = $12,384/year in rent. 
  • $12,384 / 30% = $41,280/year to afford that rent at 30% of gross income
  • $41,280 a year / $9.47 an hour = 83.8 hours a week for a worker paid the statewide minimum wage to afford rent.