The minimum wage was a winner in last night’s election. In the six states (Montana, Ohio, Arizona, Colorado, Missouri and Nevada) with ballot measures to raise the minimum wage, the ballot measures passed. Even better, all six laws are indexed to inflation – meaning that the MW in those states will automatically go up over time, rather than having to be fought for again and again.
Here’s a summary table, from this Economic Policy Institute page:
|New minimum wage||
|Arizona||$6.75 + indexing||303,000|
$6.85 + indexing
|Missouri||$6.50 + indexing||256,000|
|Montana||$6.15 + indexing||
|Nevada||$6.15 + indexing||101,000|
|Ohio||$6.85 + indexing||719,000|
If trends in these six states mirror national trends, then about 60% of the 1.5 million workers getting the raise will be women. A disproportionate number of the 1.5 million will be people of color.
Interestingly, this is the first time in US history that the majority of states have state-level minimum wages which are higher than the Federal minimum wage. That’s a reflection of how much the Federal government has allowed the real value of the minimum wage to drop, forcing the states to step in:
(Curtsy: Angry Bear).
Plus, new overlord Pelosi has said that raising the minimum wage will be at the top of the Democrats’ national agenda (one of a bunch of items at the top, admittedly). Fresh from a electorial beating, the Republicans may not have much stomach for fighting a minimum wage increase – polls show that raising the minimum wage is popular with voters of both parties.
A couple of links:
Dean Baker points out that when restaurant owners say that raising the minimum wage would hurt them, and anyway waiters may a ton in tips, the numbers don’t add up.
This Economic Policy Institute brief from 1999 — “The Minimum Wage Increase: A Working Woman’s Issue” — is, sadly, still current today. EPI has a bunch of good articles about the minimum wage, by the way.