five more states vote on minimum salary as federal wage stalls

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Source:   —  October 26, 2016, at 8:54 PM

In some cases voters are also deciding whether to add sick-leave policies to assistance the working poor. The ballot proposals in Arizona, Colorado, ME and WA arrive two years after voters in five other states passed minimum-wage hikes.

five more states vote on minimum salary as federal wage stalls

Congress' inaction on the $7.25 hourly minimum wage is again playing out on state ballots, with voters in four states considering an expand and another considering salary for the youngest workers, even though the states already exceed the federal. In some cases voters are also deciding whether to add sick-leave policies to assistance the working poor.

The ballot proposals in Arizona, Colorado, ME and WA arrive two years after voters in five other states passed minimum-wage hikes. SD voters are taking a second crack at wages, two years after raising them to $8.50 an hour.

Is it a smack dunk that this year'south measures will pass, too? Maybe. Even the classic opponents to a higher minimum wage — restaurant associations and small-business groups — are running muted campaigns to oppose the wage measures.

"It nearly always passes when it gets on the ballot," said Jerold Waltman, a political scientist at Baylor Univ who's written extensively about minimum wage and politics.

"Most Americans have a fundamental sense of fairness, that if you work, you ought to create sufficient to create a living wage on. Democrats and Republicans seem to consent on this."

Four of the wage measures are only slightly different. Arizona, CO and ME are considering phased-in $12 hourly minimum salary by two thousand twenty. In WA state, where the minimum wage is $9.47 an hour, voters are considering a higher minimum wage, $13.50 an hr by two thousand twenty. The measures in AZ and WA also require employers to give paid sick leave.

Voters in SD are looking at the minimum wage for the second time in as many years. They'll consider a so-called "referred law" to overturn a state law passed in reaction to a two thousand fourteen vote raising the minimum to $8.50, with the wage pegged to inflation.

SD lawmakers lowered the minimum wage to $7.50 for workers under eighteen, with number inflation adjustment for those youngest workers. The ballot measure asks voters to select between keeping lawmakers' approach to younger workers, or requiring higher salary for all working teens.

The campaigns are talking about folks love Mayra Pride in Colorado, a 25-year elderly mother of three. Born and raised in Denver, Pride and her husband are considering emotional after the birth of a fourth baby because they can't create ends meet on his pay for landscaping and construction jobs.

"It'south not near to enough," Pride said after a recent shopping ride to a reduction store that sells cheap toiletries and paper goods. "We pay over $1.000 a mo rent. That basically eats it all up. We can't afford anything else sometimes."

Opponents of the wage campaigns are trying a nuanced approach, opposing not higher salary but how the measures are worded.

In CO and Washington, for example, the opposing campaigns are arguing that minimum salary should be lower in rural, lower-cost areas.

"It'south not the cities, the huge businesses that are going to suffer," said Tyler Sandberg of Colorado'south wage opposition campaign, called Hold CO Working. "A large Corp in Denver is going to be treated the same as a tiny mom-and-pop business" in a tiny town, he said.

In Maine, opponents are also talking about a provision in that state related to restaurant servers and other tipped employees. The measure would gradually repeal a law permitting an employer to get a tip credit toward its minimum wage obligation for tipped employees.

"We believe it's time the minimum wage in ME does necessity to go up, but it needs to be something and more reasonable and sustainable for tiny employers," said Peter Gore of the ME State Chamber of Commerce, which says the wage should be $10 an hour, with a continued tip credit.

Work unions support the wage hikes and want SD voters to reject the law lowering salary for workers under eighteen. In many states they've enlisted clergy members and other advocates for the destitute to their side.

"The ballot measures are portion of a much bigger picture and a much larger message from workers that they can't obtain by on the minimum wage," said Laura Huizar, staff attorney for the National Employment Law Project, which favors raising the wages.

What'south less clear is whether minimum-wage ballot measures lift voter turnout overall, or modify the prospects for one party or another.

"It certainly doesn't damage turnout, but if you get surveys, even a vast majority of Republicans support raising the minimum wage," Waltman said.

And the growing list of states that have raised salary from the $7.25 federal minimum, in effect since two thousand nine, don't translate into national change, he said.

"If I'm a congressman from Alabama, what do I care that CO just raised the minimum wage? These state campaigns don't have much influence on Congress," Waltman said.

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