Eight States which include Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington all raised the minimum wage to keep pace with inflation. The increase in these States ranged between 28 and 37 cents per hour and will take affect January 1. More than 1.4 million low-income earners will see their wages go up on New Year’s Day. While the Federal minimum wage is at $7.25 an hour, workers in Washington State will earn a minimum of $9.04 thanks to their recent wage increase. 18 States total, including Washington, D.C., have rates above the federal level.
The wage increase in the aforementioned states will result in an extra $582 to $770 a year for full-time workers. The non-profit advocacy group, National Employment Law Project contends that the minimum wage increases will act as a mini-boost to the economy. The expected increase in wages will result in an increase in those wages being spent, which is projected to add $366 million to the nation’s gross domestic product. The National Employment Law Project also projects that the minimum wage increases also will result in a creation of more than 3,000 full-time jobs.
Paul Sonn, legal co-director at NELP states, “Increasing minimum wage is a key form of local stimulus.” The increase in wages will put money back into the pockets of low-income families who will then spend that money at the local businesses. Paul Sonn also believes that the eight states that are raising their minimum wage on January 1 are protecting themselves in case Congress can’t reach an agreement to extend the payroll tax break beyond February. He believes that the boost in incomes for individuals living in those eight states will more than offset the loss that could come from the inability of Congress to extend the payroll tax break.
Blake Ellis, Minimum wage increases for workers in eight states, https://money.cnn.com/2011/12/23/news/economy/minimum_wage_increases/index.htm?iid=Popular (accessed 12/27/11)