Seattle might eventually have the highest minimum wage in the nation, by a mile. Mayor Ed Murray unveiled a proposal today that would raise it to $15 an hour in three to seven years, reports the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Businesses would have different deadlines to comply, depending on their size and whether they offer benefits such as health insurance and tips, explains the Seattle Times. It's not a done deal: The plan still must be approved by the City Council, but Murray's proposal has cleared a panel made up of labor and business leaders.
"I think that this is an historic moment for the city of Seattle," said the mayor. "We're going to decrease the poverty rate." Businesses with more than 500 employees that don't offer health insurance would get the shortest turnaround time—they'd have to offer $15 an hour in three years. While fewer than 1% of Seattle businesses fall into that category, that still accounts for 30,000 workers, or one-third of the city's low-income employees. San Francisco currently has the nation's highest minimum wage at $10.55 an hour, notes AP. The move comes a day after Senate Republicans shot down a proposal to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10. (Read more Seattle stories.)