Progress with Min Wag Increase in 18 States

While the federal minimum wage standard, which is currently $7.25 an hour, hasn’t changed in over eight years, 18 states have just enacted their own minimum wage increases at the state level. The changes became effective on New Year’s Day 2018, and the Economic Policy Institute predicts that around 4.5 million workers will benefit from the increases to their wages.

Employers must observe their particular state’s minimum wage laws. The federal minimum wage doesn’t allow a state to set its wages lower than the federal standard, but states may set their wages higher, and employers must adhere to the state’s standard regardless if the federal standard is lower. State’s without a standard use the federal minimum wage standard.

The increases seen here are either the result of existing laws that require minimum wages to be periodically adjusted with inflation, ballot initiatives passing, and/or new legislation passed. In any case, the resulting rises ranged from a few cents to a couple of dollars. Here are all 18 of the states and their new minimum wage standards:

1. Alaska: $.04 increase to $9.84.
2. Arizona: $50 increase to $10.50.
3. California: $.50 increase to $11.00.
4. Colorado: $.90 increase to $10.20.
5. Florida: $.15 increase to $8.25.
6. Hawaii: $.85 increase to $10.10.
7. Maine: $1.00 increase to $10.00.
8. Michigan:$.35 increase to $9.25.
9. Minnesota: $.15 increase to $9.65.
10. Missouri: $.15 increase to $7.85.
11. Montana: $.15 increase to $8.30.
12. New Jersey: $.16 increase to $8.60.
13. New York: $.70 increase to $10.40.
14. Ohio: $.15 increase to $8.30.
15. Rhode Island: $.50 increase to $10.10.
16. South Dakota: $.20 increase to $8.85
17. Vermont: $.50 increase to $10.50.
18. Washington: $.50 increase to $11.50.

The public, from both red and blue affiliated states, generally favor raises to the minimum wage level. A poll on the subject from Huffington Post showed around 50% thought raises to the minimum wage level was a good thing, around 33% felt it a bad thing, and most everyone favored a more sensible raise to around $10 over the $15 that many low-income workers have been demanding.

George W. Bush was the last president to accomplish a federal minimum wage raise back in 2009. Then President, Obama attempted to get a wage hike on the table during his second term in office, but he failed to get bipartisan support. The proposals were blocked by the majority-Republican Congress.

Now, labor unions and low income workers have rallied support and managed to get wage bumps passed at many local and state levels around the nation. In total, 29 states and D.C. currently have a state-level minimum wage that’s greater than the federal minimum wage. Some cites and counties have issued their own local-level wage standards, with a couple actually reaching the $15 an hour mark set forth by protesting fast wood workers back in 2012.

However, Republican state lawmakers in many of the above cases have taken preemptive action to cull the local wage hikes in their states. Over 24 states now have preemption laws to prohibit localities from having a minimum wage law that in any way contradicts state law. Missouri state lawmakers, for example, killed a $10 an hour minimum wage in St.Louis, which brought St. Louis workers back down to the then state requirement of $7.70.