4 States Raising Minimum Wages the Most in 2019

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Twenty states will raise their minimum wages on Jan. 1. The actions will affect the pay of 5.3 million people. Most of these increases are modest, but in four states the bump is over $1.

When states or other geographic areas do not have a minimum wage, the federal number takes precedent. That current level is $7.25, which was last raised in 2009 from $6.55.

The wages increases across the 20 states fall into three categories. The first is inflation adjustments. Most of these are modest. Alaska, which uses this method, will only raise the wage by 5 cents. The second are states in which the wage will rise because of votes by the state legislatures. The final category is increases due to votes directly by residents via ballot measures. The states based on these three initiatives are:

  1. Inflation adjustment covers eight states: Alaska, Florida, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, South Dakota and Vermont
  2. States with adjustments based on legislation cover six states: California, Delaware, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York and Rhode Island
  3. States where ballot measures triggered the increase total six: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, Missouri and Washington

Recently the District of Columbia trumped a wage increase approved by voters. According to the Economic Policy Institute:

The Council of the District of Columbia overturned a voter initiative that passed with 55 percent support that would have gradually raised and eventually eliminated the separate lower minimum wage that currently exists for workers who receive tips. In Michigan, the members of the legislature took it upon themselves to handle the minimum wage issue, effectively blocking the ability of voters to approve or deny an increase.

The amount of the increases vary widely. As mentioned, the Alaska figure is only $0.05. New York has passed an increase of $2 for next year. From state to state, the spread of increases will take up annual pay between $90 and $1,300.

These are the four that raised the wage the most:

State Current Minimum Wage New Minimum Wage as of Jan 1, 2019 Increase Estimated workers directly benefiting
California $11.00 $12.00 $1.00 2,560,100
Maine $10.00 $11.00 $1.00 87,200
Massachusetts $11.00 $12.00 $1.00 372,300
New York $10.40 – $13.00 $11.10 – $15.00 $0.70 – $2.00 8,449,400
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