Welcome Guest
( Log In | Register )
The time is now 11:19 pm
You last visited January 21, 2017, 10:35 pm
All times shown are
Eastern Time (GMT-5:00)

states aim to raise minimum wage


States Aim to Raise Minimum Wage

(May 10) -- Campaigns to raise the minimum wage are gaining ground in a dozen states during an election year in which some political activists say the issue could help swell Democratic voter turnout.

Seven state legislatures have raised the wage this year, and efforts are underway in six states to put similar proposals on the November ballot.

States are using legislation and ballot initiatives to do what Congress has not done since 1997, when it last increased the federal minimum wage to $5.15 an hour.

Twenty-one states have minimum wages above $5.15. Joining the list this year are Maryland, Rhode Island, Michigan, Arkansas and Maine. West Virginia hiked wages, but only for a limited set of workers. Ohio raised its minimum to match the federal wage.

Nevada voters will decide in November whether to raise the state wage to $6.15 an hour. Drives for similar initiatives are taking place in Arizona, Ohio, Colorado, Missouri and Montana.


As campaigns for governorships and congressional seats heat up, the issue could attract liberal voters in November, just as measures outlawing gay marriage galvanized conservative voters in 2004.

"That kind of effort can really draw voters out to not only support the minimum wage but to support the candidates who support the minimum wage," says Oliver Griswold of the liberal Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, an advocacy group based in Washington.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., says raising the federal minimum wage will be a top priority for Democrats if they regain control of the House of Representatives in November.

Last year, 1.9 million workers - 2.5% of hourly earners - earned $5.15 or less, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Pay for millions of others is influenced by the wage.

Some opponents of a wage hike say it would force up wages for all workers, straining businesses. "I think it will cause some people to actually lose their jobs," says Thom Coffman, vice president of the Ohio Restaurant Association.

Michigan lawmakers increased the state's minimum wage in March to $7.40 over the next two years. The idea that Democrats might use the issue to mobilize their constituents influenced Republican state senators, who unanimously approved the hike, says Ari Adler, spokesman for Senate Republican leader Ken Sikkema.


Entry #444


This Blog entry currently has no comments.

You must be a Lottery Post member to post comments to a Blog.

Register for a FREE membership, or if you're already a member please Log In.