Push For Higher Minimum Wages Seen Advancing In Several States

Date: April 04, 2016 Last Edit: April 06, 2016

Other States May Follow New York State, California Efforts, Analysts Say

Amid news that California and New York are poised to enact minimum-wage increases to $15 an hour, the AP reported on similar efforts in Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington state. According to the story, “even economic experts who oppose the increased rate see it gaining momentum.” The various proposals, sparked by the “Fight for $15” campaign that originated among fast-food workers, face stiffer resistance in “more conservative and rural states in the South and the Midwest,” the AP said. Similarly, a Wall Street Journal analysis said that movement toward a $15 an hour minimum wage in New York and California could impact proposals in other states, particularly because New York and California contain 18% of the total US labor force. According to the Journal, when New York and California approved minimum wage increases in 2013, 14 states did the same a year later, and most at least matched New York’s $9 an hour. Additionally, other high-profile corporations have starting boosting wages, including Wal-Mart and McDonald’s, the Journal noted. Currently, New Jersey’s legislature has a pending $15 minimum wage bill, while campaigns are ongoing for ballot initiatives to approve a $15 minimum wage in Washington State, Maine, and Colorado.

What This Means For Small Businesses

Small businesses should be worried about the imposition of costly wage hikes across the US as states attempt to compete for labor with California and New York. Wage increases would drive up the costs of doing business for small business owners, forcing cuts in employee hours, layoffs, and higher prices for consumers. As NFIB California director Tom Scott said to the AP in response to the wage increase legislation signed there, “Ignoring the voices and concerns of the vast majority of job creators in this state is deeply concerning and illustrates why many feel Sacramento is broken.” Sadly, California is just one example of a trend of government placing election-year politics ahead of job creators.

Additional Reading

The Christian Science Monitor also examined possible wage hikes across the US.

Note: this article is intended to keep small business owners up on the latest news. It does not necessarily represent the policy stances of NFIB.

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