Saturday, July 12, 2014

166.1 - Good News: state and local moves to raise minimum wage

Good News: state and local moves to raise minimum wage

As whenever possible, let's start off with some good news.

Over the past couple of weeks I have been able to give some good news regarding the minimum wage wage. This wee, I have some more.

Eleven states now plan to raise their minimum wage to at least $9 per hour between now and 2018, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. This does not include other states which will reach those levels because of previously-enacted provisions that automatically adjust the state minimum wage according to some formula that state has adopted. These are additional states.

Nine of those 11 states will have minimum wages of above $9 per hour. Eight of them will be above $10 per hour.

And one will have an $11 per hour minimum wage by 2017. That state is Massachusetts, by legislation signed into law on June 26. At that point, Massachusetts will have the highest minimum wage of any US state.

Another thing we're seeing on this front is some companies that are making a point of paying their employees decent, or at least improved, wages, regarding that as good for business. It kind of goes back to the old Henry Ford idea of paying your workers enough to be able to afford the stuff that you sell.

Is it worth pointing out, however, that we're still talking about a minimum wage, not a living wage: According to a standard method of calculation, in Massachusetts a full-time worker needs get $11.31 an hour to pay for food, housing, transportation, and other regular expenses. In the Boston area, it’s $12.65 an hour. So no, the raised minimum is still not a living wage - but it is an improvement and that, and perhaps even more importantly the increasing awareness of the necessity of action, is good news.

Sources cited in links:,0,3654096.story

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