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The minimum wage – no longer a federal issue? November 12, 2006

Posted by Tom in Economic Development, Workforce.

Politics is what it is, and states fill the gap when the federal government doesn’t act. Regardless of your opinion on this issue, there is no question that the minimum wage has an impact on the worlds of economic development and workforce development.

Following is a state-by-state map of minimum wage levels across America:

The states outlined in yellow all passed minimum wage hikes by referendum in the November 2006 elections.  There also is word that the new Congress will enact a federal minimum wage hike in its first 100 hours:

House Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi has said she’ll make a federal increase a top priority. President Bush has indicated he will work with her on the issue. And Democrats, the biggest supporters of a national raise, now have control of the U.S. House and Senate.

“With the Democrats in control of an issue that’s this popular, I think there’s little question that something will happen,” said Ken Jacobs, chairman of the Center for Labor Research and Education at the University of California, Berkeley.

“With the Democrats in control, we should expect to see a clean bill,” Jacobs said. “And a clean bill is something very few people want to be on the wrong side of.”

I appreciate the political popularity of a federal minimum wage hike, but do the feds need to do anything in light of the widespread movement to raise the minimum wage at the state level?



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