It's a legit question. I dunno. Speaking locally, we could start by taking every tax policy on Washington/Seattle's books right now and doing the exact opposite of what they're currently doing. WA doesn't have any income tax, just sales tax. Which is just about as regressive as it gets- hits people in the lower income brackets harder than it does the higher income brackets. Legislature requires a 2/3 supermajority to raise new taxes. And Seattle keeps putting their tax proposals on the ballot for direct popular vote, which means they invariably get voted down (EDIT you know, I'm not even sure if Seattle can levy taxes without putting them on the ballot, so this could just be tough shit). And it keeps hitting the low-wage/lower middle class residents where it hurts. Higher car title tax would have kept local bus lines from cutting service. That was shot down on the ballot. There were initiatives on last year's ballots that would have raised taxes for King Co. school systems. Those were shot down. Meanwhile, Boeing just got a multi-billion dollar tax break after they threatened to move production of one component of the new 787 to NC- a move that, given the cost of hiring and re-training inexperienced workers to a time-sensitive project, was far from definite. Anyhow. We're currently in the process of cutting back bus routes, and our public schools are so underfunded that the state supreme court has ruled the funding levels unconstitutionally low.
Basically, if we're talking steps to curb inequality, what Seattle needs is an infusion of money into almost every public service it provides- transportation, education, social welfare, etc. And in order to get new money into those services, they need to raise existing taxes, levy new ones. But given the current mechanisms and processes in place to do that, we'll see new taxes approximately, well, never. Actually, that's not true. I'm pretty sure King Co. is allowed to raise property tax percentages on something like a yearly schedule. Which means even higher housing prices, which isn't so great for the lower-income folks, either.
Minimum wage is one tool in the chest. And I'm not even really opposed to raising it in general. Especially on a national level, where it's currently so low as to mean nothing. But $15 is arbitrarily, un-necessarily high. While still not being enough to raise basic standard of living on anything other than a nominal level. And the move that Seattle city council pulled, it feels like a punt. If they cared about inequality, they'd find a way to sell new tax hikes to the public and then use those taxes on mechanisms that could help out those in need. How about housing subsidies? Basic education. Public transportation. Instead, these are the very programs that are languishing. So what does council do? Takes the politically expedient approach, imposes this new minimum wage on all Seattle businesses within a certain time frame, and doesn't speak at all to the idea of raising revenues to mitigate the hurt they're putting on smaller businesses and non-profits. So in this case, a min. wage hike is popular- who doesn't like free money? But way less progressive than raising revenues and revitalizing already downtrodden public services.