State Minimum Wages

Source: Jennifer Burnett, Council of State Governments, Knowledge Center, May 8, 2012

Legislators in several states are considering raising the minimum wage this year, but the issue is controversial. Proponents of raising state minimum wages argue that while the federal rate has remained stagnant–it hasn’t increased since 2009–the costs for housing, food, utilities and health care have continued to climb. This leaves those earning minimum wage with less money to afford the basics, which in turn puts downward pressure on the demand for goods and services. Opponents warn that raising the wage now would have a negative impact on businesses–especially during anemic economic times–and that a minimum wage hike actually hurts those that it intends to help by forcing employers to cut jobs at the low end of the pay scale.

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