Center for American Progress

STATEMENT: CAP’s Melissa Boteach on Passage of D.C.’s Initiative 77
Press Statement

STATEMENT: CAP’s Melissa Boteach on Passage of D.C.’s Initiative 77

Washington, D.C. — Today, voters in Washington, D.C. passed Initiative 77—a ballot measure to gradually raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 per hour, including for tipped workers. Melissa Boteach, senior vice president for Poverty to Prosperity team at the Center for American Progress, released the following statement in response:

Voters in Washington, D.C. have said loudly and clearly that no one who works full-time should live in poverty—including tipped workers.

As numerous studies have shown, eliminating the tipped minimum wage raises average earnings of tipped workers and is associated with lower poverty rates. It also helps workers push back against discrimination and sexual harassment. Black restaurant servers receive 15 to 25 percent less in tips than their white counterparts, and in D.C., female servers are twice as likely as male servers to live in poverty. Contrary to the restaurant lobby’s campaign, restaurant growth is actually stronger in eight states that do not have the outdated two-tier wage system.

We urge D.C.’s City Council to respect the will of the voters and allow this initiative to become law.

For more information or to speak with an expert, contact Kyle Epstein at or 202.481.8137.