Bills targeting minimum wage die in committee

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington state lawmakers are shelving a series of bills that would lower wages at the bottom of the income scale in an effort to spur private-sector hiring.

Five Republican-sponsored minimum wage bills failed to come up for a House committee vote Tuesday ahead of a key deadline.

A tip-credit bill allowing restaurants to pay waiters less than the minimum wage inflamed passions on both sides of the debate, with restaurant owners telling of payroll-related job cuts and workers insisting that they not be targeted for cuts.

Rep. Cary Condotta, R-East Wenatchee, said his goal in sponsoring the bills was to encourage employers to hire more workers.

Washington has the highest minimum wage of any state. Effective January 1, it rose 37 cents to $9.04.