At least eight other states across the country ready themselves to raise the current minimum wage as California leads the way with the highest proposed dollar amount yet, so far.
Advocates and elected officials in Alaska, Idaho, Massachusetts and South Dakota as well as in Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota and the District of Columbia are standing up for their constituents in the hopes of providing them a more suitable “living” income.
These actions all stem from the labor activities started by fast food workers, in conjunction with labor and grass-roots organizations, seeking a national $15 hourly wage that have sprung up across the country both this year and last year.
In California, plans have the current state minimum wage rising from $8 an hour to $9 an hour on July 1, 2014 and again, to $10 an hour on January 1, 2016. Right now, numbers show that less than 2 percent of California hourly wage earners receive the federal minimum of $7.25.
States now are taking the lead in the debate since the matter has effectively died at the federal level. Despite its popularity as a ballot measure, the federal minimum wage hasn't increased since 2007; a testament to the polarizing and partisan effect the debate has on those in Washington.
Still, three states besides California will raise their minimum to a point higher than the federal level this year: New York will go from $7.25 to $9 an hour by 2015 beginning with an immediate raise to $8 an hour by the end of 2013. Connecticut will go from $8.25 to $9 an hour with an immediate bump to $8.75 beginning January 1, 2014 and Rhode Island will go to $8 and hour from $7.75 beginning January 1, 2014.
But indexing-automatic annual adjustments for inflation-is where the money is and what can provide automatic yearly relief for many service providers. Indexing also is something that more than a few states and politicians want no parts of.
This November, New Jersey’s gubernatorial election will have on the ballot a statewide minimum wage question which will include indexing, an additional factor that caused previous attempts to be vetoed by Governor Chris Christie.
Yesterday in Philadelphia, City Council approved an amendment that will force subcontractors doing business with the city to follow minimum wage guidelines set up in 2005. These stipulate that those companies pay an additional 150 percent of the minimum wage, increasing the earned amount received to about $10.88 an hour.
Also this week, state Senator Christine Tartaglione introduced legislation to increase Philadelphia’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 along with another bill to increase the $2.83 minimum wage of tipped employees. Her proposal would raise those employees’s income, something that hasn't been done in 15 years, to $5.07 an hour.
Sources: USAToday, Philly.com