Minimum Wage Raise Coming To Eight States After New Year

doctorwho_guru.†=♡ 2011/12/28 22:44:02

WASHINGTON -- Eight states will be raising their minimum wage next week, boosting the pay of more than a million workers across the country.

Most of the raises will be modest, on the order of 28 to 37 cents per hour, but the new rates will translate into hundreds of additional dollars annually for many people who are working yet remain in poverty.

Setting a new benchmark, Washington will become the first state to crack the $9 ceiling, raising its minimum wage from $8.67 to $9.04, which translates for full-time minimum-wage workers into an extra $15 or so in pretax pay each week. The other states raising their rates are Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Montana, Ohio, Oregon and Vermont.

Workers in all of these states owe their raises to the cost-of-living adjustments written into their state laws. Such laws require that the minimum wage be tweaked every year to account for the rising cost of basic necessities, usually pegged to the consumer price index. Ten states, including the eight above, have such laws on the books. Nevada raises its rate during the summer, and although Missouri has a cost-of-living adjustment, this year it will not push the state rate above the prevailing federal minimum wage of $7.25.

In recent years, advocates for low-wage workers have tended to lobby hard for cost-of-living adjustments on the state level, arguing that such laws protect against the erosion of workers' purchasing power. The federal minimum wage is not automatically adjusted for inflation and requires new legislation each time it increases. Thirty-two states currently have minimum wages no higher than the federal rate.

Paul Sonn, legal co-director of the National Employment Law Project, called the cost-of-living adjustment "the most important sort of protection" keeping the minimum wage from losing its purchasing power over time.

"Workers in those states are enjoying substantially stronger wages than in others," said Sonn, who argues that such adjustments also offer the business community some predictability. "From our perspective, in the states that have adopted indexing, the minimum wage is preserving its real value."

But even in Washington state, with the highest rate in the country, today's minimum wage does not match its historical highs when adjusted for inflation, Sonn noted. Had the minimum wage kept pace with the rising cost of living since the 1970s, it would currently stand around $10 an hour.

Not satisfied with the rates set by their state governments, some cities have passed local ordinances establishing their own minimum wages. Among them is San Francisco, which next week will become the first major city with a minimum wage higher than $10.

Business owners and trade groups in San Francisco and elsewhere have argued that a relatively high minimum wage forces businesses -- restaurants in particular -- to cut back on staff and displaces jobs to other communities. Although the body of research is conflicting, recent some studies have concluded that raising the minimum wage has no significant impact on local job markets.

Read More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/28/minimum-w...

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  • Gloria 2011/12/28 23:49:30
    I have a part time summer job assuming they will hire me back every summer. They give me regular, modest raisess & commissions. I wish everyone that wants a good job had one. Things have never been so hard for me & I know many are in the same boat as I am in.
  • Beautiful_Syn 2011/12/28 23:34:11
    More states should fall suit, whenever I have worked a job (including the two now) I have always been paid around $11.50 to $14.50 an hour though when I worked as a teen I got paid $9.50 an hour.
  • TMan 2011/12/28 23:18:53
  • Dickens 2011/12/28 23:17:16 (edited)
    ..the billonaires aren't gonna like this AT ALL!!! (and if the billionaires don't like it, the republicans won't like it!) I mean, who the hell do those greedy minimum wage scum think they are?? I guess the billionaires will need another monstrous tax cut to make up for it (and the minimum wage scum will get a tax INCREASE to make up for the billionaires tax CUT..)
  • Gordon 2011/12/28 23:16:18
    Thank goodness the minimum wage is being raised in some states, even if only a small amount. People are unable to survive on miminum wage, being on welfare pays better - especially considering all of the bennies some of them get.

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