But big businesses would have to pay $15 an hour right away. "The mayor said he is concerned about very small businesses. Let’s take that off the table here today," Sawant said at the rally yesterday. "Let’s support both small businesses and human services by phasing them in over three years starting with $11 an hour on January 1st, with an inflation increase, with regular steps [toward] $15 each year."

As for Target and McDonald's? "Big business, all industries, with no exceptions will pay $15 an hour on January 1st, 2015 to all workers," Sawant proposes.

The devil's in the details—how do you define what a big business is? Do franchises count? What other policy mechanisms will be in place to make this work?—and we will be digging into the specifics of this proposal over the next few days. But on its face, Sawant's proposal sounds like a good idea to me. It provides independent businesses who give the city its character a competitive edge over the giant sucking sound of multinational corporations. It gives nonprofits more time to figure out how to adapt to rising costs. And it floods the market with cash in the pockets of all those McDonald's and Target employees, much of which will be spent locally.