Demonstrators prepare signs supporting the raising of the federal minimum wage during May Day demonstrations in New York on May 1, 2014.
Lucas Jackson/Reuters

Vermont to set highest state minimum wage in the U.S.

Updated

While Congress remains deadlocked over a proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10, yet another state has taken the matter into its own hands. Earlier this week, Vermont’s legislature voted to raise the state’s minimum wage to $10.50, the highest state-level minimum wage in the country.

Gov. Peter Shumlin, a Democrat, has not yet signed the law but said in a statement that he would be “proud” to do so.

Vermont’s minimum wage is currently $8.73, and the new increase would be gradually phased in over the next four years. The Green Mountain State is only the latest in a wave of blue states to hike base wages over $10 in 2014, following Connecticut, Maryland and Hawaii. Several municipal governments have raised their minimum wages even higher, and Seattle appears poised to go all the way to $15 per hour.

The prospects for a federal wage hike are considerably less rosy. Two weeks ago, a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 failed to clear the 60 votes required to bypass a Republican filibuster. Yet the Democrats’ decision to make a campaign issue out of the minimum wage appears to be giving some juice to state and local efforts, including in Vermont.

Income Inequality, Minimum Wage and Vermont

Vermont to set highest state minimum wage in the U.S.

Updated