For several years, President Obama has urged Congress to raise the federal minimum wage from its current level of $7.25. And for several years, congressional Republicans have responded with a simple declaration: absolutely not.
But this week, a whole lot of Americans are poised to get a raise – whether GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill like it or not.
The minimum wage will rise in 21 states in 2015, putting it above the federal pay floor in more than half the USA and highlighting the impact of a national movement to boost the earnings of low-paid workers.The increases will lift the hourly wages of 2.4 million workers by up to $1 to an average of $8 and a high of $9.15, according to the Economic Policy Institute…. Another 1.9 million workers are expected to benefit from a higher pay scale. The post-Christmas gifts will pump about $1.5 billion into the U.S. economy because low-wage workers tend to spend most of their paychecks, the liberal think tank estimates.
It’s technically 20 states and the District of Columbia, not 21 states, but close enough. The wage hike takes effect in New York tomorrow, and in the remaining states on Thursday.
Niraj Chokshi’s report added, “The size of the hikes range from 12 cents in Florida to $1.25 in South Dakota. Among those states hiking the minimum wage, Washington state’s will be highest at $9.47. Oregon’s is next at $9.25., followed by Vermont and Connecticut at $9.15. Massachusetts and Rhode Island will have $9 minimum wages.”
Let’s also not forget that these are the statewide increases, and the developments don’t include the municipalities that have raised their minimum wages, the businesses that have taken it upon themselves to increase their minimum wages, and President Obama’s executive actions raising the minimum wage for employees of federal contractors.
Congressional Republicans, who insist a wage hike would be bad for businesses, can block a federal increase indefinitely, but proponents of minimum-wage increases continue to make progress anyway.