Four States in the Homestretch: Raising the Minimum Wage


Four States in the Homestretch: Raising the Minimum Wage

Though the American public is increasingly in favor of raising the minimum wage, wages at the federal level have been stagnant since 2009. But this week low wage workers in these four states could see a raise:

Arizona

Proposition 206 would raise the minimum wage in Arizona from $8.05 to $12 per hour by 2020. This would mean a raise for 1 in 3 working Arizonans. In a reality where consumer spending makes up about 70% of our economy putting money in the hands of people who will spend it means more money in the economy - it’s smart for business, and it’s smart for the people of Arizona.

Many of Patriotic Millionaires already pay their employees higher than state and federal minimum wage. Take it from Patriotic Millionaire Keith Mestrich, President and CEO of Amalgamated Bank where the lowest wage is $15 an hour:

“We never forget that our employees are part  of our economy as consumers. When they earn more, they support local businesses, rely less on public assistance and have a better shot of moving into the middle class. More money in their pockets means more money in our economy and, eventually, in our banks.”

Colorado

Amendment 70 would raise the minimum wage to $12 per hour by 2020 in Colorado - an idea that is supported by more than half of voters in Colorado.

Here’s the thing: trickle-down economics had its moment to shine and it failed spectacularly. The gap between the wealthy elite and everyone else has grown faster than it has in over 100 years - and it shows no signs of slowing down. This is wreaking havoc on our economy. The key to a stable economy? Making sure that millions of people have a little more money to spend, not making sure that a few people have a whole lot of extra money in their coffers.

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Take a look at Colorado - the top 5% of households in Colorado earn an average of $356,366 while 1 in 5 Colorado households make just $14,379 a year. Imagine if those 1 in 5 households had extra money to infuse into the local economy - how strong would the Colorado economy be? 

Maine

Question 4 in Maine would raise and index minimum wage to $12 per hour by 2020 - a move that could directly impact the lives of 31.9% of Maine’s working population. 

A note here: those against efforts to raise the minimum wage often claim that minimum wage workers are teens working part-time jobs for extra cash or savings. But this theory has long been debunked. In Maine, 90% of people who will be affected by Question 4 are over the age of 20. In fact, a third of them are seniors. And these are not just people seeking a little extra pocket money - one in four of these low wage workers supports a child. They need a decent wage that allows them to afford food, shelter, and their other basic needs.

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Washington

Initiative 1433 aims to raise the minimum wage to $13.50 an hour by 2020. In 2014 the city of Seattle passed a $15 an hour minimum wage. Since then, the University of Washington has been at the forefront of several studies showing that raising the wage did not welcome in the great economic apocalypse. In fact, the city economy is booming.

Now is the time for the rest of Washingtonians to get a boost. Put simply, raising wages helps businesses, workers, and families - and all households in Washington should see this help, not just Seattle. Here’s a comparison, in the first map, you can see how likely a household with one adult and one dependent can live on the current minimum wage in Washington. In the bottom, you can see how more affordable life becomes if the wage is raised to $13.50 per hour.

Affordability at $9.47 an hour

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Affordability at $13.50 an hour

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For anyone keeping count, at the very least 2.6 million low wage workers across 4 states stand to see an immediate wage increase this election day.

That’s a powerful boost for workers, communities, and these state economies.

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