SEATTLE - Washington voters are deciding the fate of several high-profile initiatives, including measures that would raise the statewide minimum wage and impose the nation's first direct carbon tax.
Initiative 1433 would raise the hourly wage by roughly $4 over three years, to $13.50.The measure also would require employers to provide paid sick leave -- at least one hour for every 40 worked -- that could be used to care for family members or as "safe leave" for those who miss work because of domestic violence.
Washington's current minimum age is $9.47 an hour.
Sponsors of the carbon tax measure, Initiative 732, say residents have a moral responsibility to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Businesses say the tax will drive up fuel and energy costs and put Washington companies at a competitive disadvantage.
The carbon tax would start at $15 a ton of carbon emissions in July, go up to $25 the next year and incrementally increase afterward.
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