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Home » D.C.’s New Min Wage is Driving Prices Up, Employment and Tips Down, and Customers OUT.

D.C.’s New Min Wage is Driving Prices Up, Employment and Tips Down, and Customers OUT.

The hospitality sector is withering on the vine in Washington D.C., as ill-judged leftist policies on tipped workers drive prices up and employment down, and soaring crime scares customers away.

Led by Mayor Muriel Bowser and a Council comprised entirely of Democrats and “independents” who were formerly Democrats, the U.S. capital recently began implementing Initiative 82, a ballot measure increasing tipped workers’ base wage more than threefold.

As a result, full-service restaurant employment – previously up 17 percent – is down by four percent since the changes took effect in May. A majority of surveyed restaurateurs say they now intend to lay off workers, while almost a third intend to close venues, and half intend to begin operating in neighboring Maryland or Virginia.

Surviving servers have also seen mixed results. With employers increasing prices and adding surcharges to bills to meet the rise in payroll costs, they now have fewer customers, many of whom are less willing to tip generously. Some staff are actually taking home less money now, despite the increase in their base wage.

The capital’s crime wave is also hurting the sector. Homicide is up over a third, and car theft by a staggering 82 percent. The Wizards of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the Capitals of the National Hockey League (NHL) now intend to leave for Virginia, with the Chinatown area where they once played – supporting an ecosystem of restaurants catering to sports fans – having become increasingly crime-ridden.

Many residents are staying home or driving to the safer, less costly, neighboring states to dine out, rather than risk an encounter with an armed carjacker or robber. Restaurateurs say the “spike in violent crime” has contributed significantly to the sector’s struggles.

Initiative 82 passed with 75 percent support amongst DC’s predominantly liberal and far-left residents.

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