$15 minimum wage could bring higher prices for rent, food

by: Graham Johnson Updated:

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The campaign for a $15 per hour minimum wage often included signs that read "Because the rent won't wait."

Now, after the Seattle City Council passed a higher minimum wage, the rent might be going up.

"It could be that some landlords are going to ask their current tenants for more if they know those people have more money," said University of Washington economist Marieka Klawitter.

She said rents could also go up because demand for apartments will rise as low-wage workers move to Seattle to get paid more.

Klawitter studied a higher minimum wage for the city, but said it's hard to accurately predict inflation because because no city has ever had a minimum wage so high.

Klawitter thinks inflation will be isolated, not widespread.

"Prices will go up for goods and services that use a lot of minimum wage labor, so restaurants and hotels," Klawitter said.

While some people grumble about potential higher prices, Holly Reilly does not.

"I'm willing to pay 10-25 cents more for whatever products and services if it means the person serving me doesn't have to stress about their bills," Reilly said.