Minimum Wage to Rise in 19 States

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Given a chance to have their say, voters say “Yes” to raising the minimum wage. As of November 8, 2016, 15 states had voted on a state-level proposals to raise the minimum wage. By November 9, four more states had approved state-level measures to lift the minimum wage.

The federal minimum wage, set in 2009 and unchanged since, is $7.25. In 21 states, that remains the current minimum. In 29 other states (30 if we count the District of Columbia), minimum wage levels vary between $7.50 an hour (New Mexico) and a current high of $11.50 in D.C.

On November 8, voters in Arizona, Colorado and Maine approved annual increases that lift the minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020, and Washington voters approved an increase to $13.50 by 2020.

While opposition to raising the federal minimum wage remains firm among many businesses, one group, Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, has a list of more than 1,000 businesses that support a $12 an hour minimum wage by 2020. The group has also compiled a list of the 19 states that will increase their minimum wage rates on December 31 or January 1.

  • Arizona increases to $10 on Jan. 1, 2017, with future increases to $12 by 2020 and indexed for annual cost of living increases starting in 2021
  • Arkansas increases to $8.50 on Jan. 1, 2017
  • California increases to $10.50 on Jan. 1, 2017 with future increases to $15 by 2022 and indexed starting in 2023. Small businesses with 25 employees or fewer will have an extra year to comply with increases.
  • Connecticut increases to $10.10 on Jan. 1, 2017
  • Colorado increases to $9.30 on Jan. 1, 2017, with future increases to $12 by 2020 and indexed starting in 2021
  • Hawaii increases to $9.25 on Jan. 1, 2017, with an increase to $10.10 in 2018
  • Maine increases to $9 on Jan. 1, 2017, with future increases to $12 by 2020 and indexed starting in 2021
  • Massachusetts increases to $11 on Jan. 1, 2017
  • Michigan increases to $8.90 on Jan. 1, 2017, with an increase to $9.25 in 2018
  • New York

New York City increases to $11 on Dec. 31, 2016, $13 in 2017 and $15 in 2018 for businesses with 11 employees or more; it increases to $10.50 on Dec. 31, 2016, $12 in 2017, $13.50 in 2018 and $15 in 2019 for businesses with 10 employees or fewer

Long Island and Westchester increase to $10 on Dec. 31, 2016, with future increases of $1 a year until reaching $15 in 2021

The rest of New York State increases to $9.70 on Dec. 31, 2016, with future increases to $10.40 in 2017, $11.10 in 2018, $11.80 in 2019 and $12.50 in 2020. Annual increases starting in 2021 will bring the rest of New York to $15 on a schedule to be determined based on cost of living and other indices.

  • Washington state increases to $11 on Jan. 1, 2017, with future increases to $13.50 by 2020 and indexed starting in 2021
  • Vermont increases to $10 on Jan. 1, 2017, with increase to $10.50 in 2018 and indexed starting in 2019
  • States with Indexing where annual Cost of Living Adjustments will take effect Jan. 1, 2017 include:
  • Alaska increases to $9.80
  • Florida increases to $8.10
  • Missouri increases to $7.70
  • Montana increases to $8.15
  • New Jersey increases to $8.44
  • Ohio increases to $8.15
  • South Dakota increases to $8.65

As a result of the November election, about 2 million workers in four states will get a pay raise on January 1. At the beginning of 2016, about 3.3 million Americans were paid at or below the federal minimum.

Workers with low-wage jobs at fast-food restaurants and other retail operations have coalesced around a $15 an hour minimum wage demand. According to the National Employment Law Program (NELP), a full 42% of U.S. workers earn less than $15 an hour.