by Micah J. Fleck
Yes, you read that right. Across 19 different states, mandatory minimum wage hikes are to be forced upon business owners, which may threaten the employment security of current workers.
According to one report:
It will be a happy New Year indeed for millions of the lowest-paid U.S. workers. Nineteen states, including New York and California, will ring in the year with an increase in the minimum wage.
Massachusetts and Washington state will have the highest new minimum wages in the country, at $11 per hour.
California will raise its wage to $10.50 for businesses with 26 or more employees. New York state is taking a regional approach, with the wage rising to $11 in New York City, to $10.50 for small businesses in the city, $10 in its downstate suburbs and $9.70 elsewhere. Some specific businesses — fast-food restaurants and the smallest New York City businesses — will have slightly different wage requirements.
Voters in Arizona, Maine, Colorado and Washington approved increases in this year’s election. Seven other states, Alaska, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio and South Dakota, are automatically raising the wage based on indexing. The other states seeing increases are Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawaii, Michigan and Vermont.
Additional increases are slated for later in the year in Oregon, Washington, D.C., and Maryland.
In Arizona, the state Chamber of Commerce and Industry filed a lawsuit challenging the increase, which will raise the minimum wage from $8.05 to $10. On Thursday, the Arizona Supreme Court refused to temporarily block the raise.
Workers and labor advocates argue the increases will help low-wage workers now barely making ends meet and boost the economy by giving some consumers more money to spend. But many business owners opposed the higher wages, saying they would lead to higher prices and greater automation.
We will have to wait and see which group is more correct on the outcome.