In addition to the Presidential, Congressional and Senate races, last night a number of ballot initiatives, from criminal justice, to medical marijuana to workplace regulations, were put to the voters. 4 states voted to raise their minimum wage. Washington, Arizona, Main and Colorado all voted to increase their minimum wages with wide margins. A ballot initiative in South Dakota to lower the minimum wage for minors, however, was soundly defeated.
- Washington: $9.47 to $13.50 by 2020
- Arizona: from $8.05 to $10 by 2017; $10.50 by 2018; $11 by 2019; $12 by 2020; and by inflation after that
- Colorado: from $8.31 to $9.30 by 2017; $12 by 2020 in $.90 increments
- Maine: from $7.50 to $12.00 by 2020
This will put all 4 states above the federal minimum wage of $8.25, but only by 2020. President Elect Trump has flip-flopped on the federal minimum wage, at one point endorsing an increase but later advocating targeted tax breaks, so we don’t know yet if these increases will continue to be above the federal minimum going forward.
Minimum wage increases are often knocked as being harmful to small business, however the gradualism built into these increases should help them to plan accordingly — rather than a sudden jump, business will have several years to plan for the change, and a series of increases that they can measure the affect of and then respond to.