- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Seattle-area parking business is tacking a “living wage surcharge” onto its customers’ bills in response to the new $15 minimum wage requirement that went into effect this year.

MasterPark, at Sea-Tac International Airport, is now charging customers an additional 99-cents-per-day fee, called a “living wage surcharge,” and it’s listed right in between the “airport access fee” and the “sales tax” on every customer’s sales slip, ABC-affiliated KOMO News reported.

“This is one way of business owners getting back at the public and passing on their costs,” argued Eric Colville, who has been a customer of MasterPark. “I’m sure that they’re going to end up making a pretty good profit from this under the guise of living wage.”

The station reports that MasterPark is one of the SeaTac businesses that falls under the city’s $15 minimum wage law that voters narrowly passed last November.

“MasterPark charges, taxes, and fees include a ‘Living Wage’ surcharge of 99 cents per day,” the company’s website states. “This is due to the new $15 per hour minimum wage requirement for certain businesses in Sea-Tac. The surcharge covers a portion of the resulting increase in operating costs.”

Paul Guppy, research director of the Washington Policy Center, told KOMO that some businesses in Seattle might experiment with printing a living wage surcharge on their receipts as a means to be more transparent.

“I can see that a customer would say, ‘Oh, you’re showing me this cost just because you don’t like the higher minimum wage,’ ” he said. “I just think that MasterPark is trying to be transparent. They face a problem with having to raise prices, but they want customers to know why.”

Roger McCracken, director and part owner of MasterPark, told a local Fox affiliate that they decided this 99-cent additional charge was the best way to deal with costs.

He said the response from customers has been mostly positive and that the handful of complaints “are far outweighed by the positive comments,” the station reported.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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