Workers in 20 states get a New Year’s raise
When the calendar flips to 2015 in two weeks, 20 states will increase their minimum wage, raising the pay of approximately 4.4 million workers.
Eleven states, along with the District of Columbia, approved voter referenda or passed legislation to increase their minimum hourly pay rates. Those states include Republican-leaning South Dakota, Nebraska, Arkansas, and Alaska. In the other locations, the increases were routine since the state rate is indexed for inflation.
South Dakota will see the highest increase—from $7.25 to $8.50, while Florida has the smallest—a 12 cent boost prompted by inflation.
After these increases are implemented, 29 states—and 60% of all U.S. workers—will have minimum wage above the federal rate of $7.25 per hour.
Louisville gets a higher minimum wage
Lawmakers in Louisville, Ky. approved a $9 minimum wage on Thursday night, making it the first city in the Southern United States to increase its minimum wage.
The increase from the city’s current $7.25 rate will be implemented slowly over three years. The first boost to $7.75 will come in July 2015, followed by increases to $8.25 in July 2016, and a final hike to $9 a year after that.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer had vowed to veto any increase that went above $8.75, and the original proposal called for a hike to $10.10. Fischer said that he would approve the $9 wage, referring to the measure as a “balanced compromise.”