Fear Not, D.C. Servers! They’re From the Government, and They’re Here to Help!

In one corner, you had nearly every major elected official, the editorial board of the largest newspaper, and nearly everyone affected by the measure.

In the other corner, you had an advocacy group based in New York City and an electorate convinced you can wave a legislative wand and raise wages with no negative byproduct.

So who won? It’s D.C., of course the latter.

D.C. voters voted by a margin of 55-44 to approve Initiative 77, a ballot measure which will raise the minimum wage for servers by about 450 percent by 2026.

This is despite an extensive campaign by servers and restaurateurs to inform people that they most definitely did not want this raise. Restaurateurs warned the margins they operate on are so thin that such a massive raise would force them into layoffs and cutting down on servers’ hours. Servers pointed out that most of them made well over $15 an hour including tips already, and feared that their take-home pay would actually go down under Initiative 77.

D.C. voters, predictably, informed these servers that their personal experiences were incorrect. It was as if 55 percent of D.C. voters simultaneously belted out Reagan’s famous Nine Most Terrifying Words: “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help!”

From here, opponents of Initiative 77 will likely take their fight to the city council, where cooler heads have prevailed (you can count the number of city council members supporting Initiative 77 on, um, one finger). But it’s a shame that this measure even got this far. Not surprising, but a shame nonetheless.

Sign Up to receive Our Latest Updates! Register