Minimum Wage To Rise. But, At What Cost?

Minimum Wage Raise Will Be Hitting Your Checks Come Jan. 1St 

Minimum wage workers in a handful of states will be ringing in the new year with an automatic pay raise. 

A few cities and counties around the country will be raising their minimum wages as well, including San Francisco, which will set its at $10.74. San Francisco's base will no longer be the highest municipal minimum wage in the country, however, after voters in SeaTac, Wash., approved a ballot measure setting a $15 wage floor for an estimated 6,000 airport workers. The SeaTac minimum wage is set to go into effect Jan. 1, although it's currently being challenged in court.

As Congress considers legislation that would boost the federal minimum wage, at least 13 states will be raising the wage floor on their own next week. They're led once again by Washington state, which will continue to have the highest state minimum wage in the nation, at $9.32 per hour.

Why Raise it Now?

The federal rate hasn't been raised since 2009, after the last of a series of increases signed into law by President George W. Bush took effect.

Most of next week's increases will come courtesy of an inflation index. Ten states have tied their minimum wages to the index, guaranteeing that they rise with the cost of living each year. Other states, such as New Jersey and Connecticut, passed legislation in 2013 that will nominally raise their minimum wages. (California Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation that will raise the state's minimum wage to $10 by 2016, but the first increase, to $9, won't come until July.)

The federal minimum wage is not tied to an index, but Democrats in Congress, as well as President Barack Obama, have said that it should be. The minimum wage bill put forth by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 and peg it to inflation. Obama, who previously suggested raising the wage floor to $9 and indexing it, has since gotten on board with the $10.10 proposal from Harkin and Miller.

Here are the state and local increases that will go into effect next week, as compiled by the Employment Policies Institute:
  • Arizona: $7.80 to $7.90
  • Colorado: $7.78 to $8.00
  • Connecticut: $8.25 to $8.70
  • Florida: $7.79 to $7.93
  • Missouri: $7.35 to $7.50
  • Montana: $7.80 to $7.90
  • New Jersey: $7.25 to $8.25
  • New York: $7.25 to $8.00
  • Ohio: $7.85 to $7.95
  • Oregon: $8.95 to $9.10
  • Rhode Island: $7.75 to $8.00
  • Vermont: $8.60 to $8.73
  • Washington State: $9.19 to $9.32
  • Albuquerque, N.M.: $8.50 to $8.60
  • Bernalillo County, N.M.: $8.00 to $8.50
  • San Francisco, Calif.: $10.55 to $10.74
  • San Jose, Calif.: $10.00 to $10.15
  • SeaTac, Wash.: $9.19 to $15.00

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