Washington, DC – Twenty states are raising their minimum wage this week with strong support from business owners. These include 11 states that enacted increases through legislation and ballot measures and 9 states that adjust their minimum wage annually to keep up with the cost of living. Business owners believe these state minimum wage increases make good business sense and would also like to see Congress raise the federal minimum wage, which has been stuck at $7.25 since 2009, to benefit the U.S. economy nationwide.
“We’re very pleased to see numerous states raising their minimum wage and boosting their economies, and we look forward to more,” said Holly Sklar, CEO of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage. “Unfortunately, some states have little or no chance of going above the low federal rate. We need Congress to act to strengthen the eroded floor under workers, businesses and our economy nationwide. America needs a raise in the new year.”
Numerous business owners around the country are available for comment.
New York’s minimum wage goes up December 31 with the following states on January 1: Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, and West Virginia plus nine states with annual Jan. 1 cost of living increases: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon and Washington. In addition, Alaska’s voter-approved ballot measure called for a Jan. 1 minimum wage increase but it will not take effect until Feb. 24. The Massachusetts minimum wage of $11 on Jan. 1, 2017 (up from $9 on Jan. 1, 2015 and $10 on Jan. 1, 2016) is the nation’s highest scheduled state minimum wage rate enacted so far.
More than 1,000 small business owners and CEOs of large brands such as Costco, Eileen Fisher, Stonyfield and Dansko as well as national, state and local business organizations have signed the Business for a Fair Minimum Wage Statement to raise the federal minimum wage to at least $10.10. They agree that raising the minimum wage will boost consumer spending, decrease employee turnover, increase productivity and customer satisfaction, strengthen the economy, and reduce the strain on our social safety net caused by inadequate wages.
A recent poll of small business owners with employees (PDF) shows very strong support (61%) nationwide for raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 and adjusting it annually to keep pace with the cost of living.
The National Conference of State Legislatures has a detailed chart of state minimum wage rates and scheduled increases.
Business for a Fair Minimum Wage is a national network of business owners and executives who believe a fair minimum wage makes good business sense, including: Costco, Eileen Fisher, Ben & Jerry's, Stonyfield, Dansko footwear, South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce, New Belgium Brewing, Seventh Generation, Parnassus Investments, Organic Valley, Zingerman's, American Sustainable Business Council, Greater New York Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Alliance, ABC Home, National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Trade Association, Uncommon Goods, Spectronics Corporation, American Income Life, Vintage Vinyl, Lamey-Wellehan Shoes, independent ACE Hardware stores in various states, and many others.
Members of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage across the country are available for comment and/or television and radio booking. Please contact Bob Keener, 617-610-6766, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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