More that a million workers making minimum wage will see more money this year, as eight states are raising their minimum hourly rate in 2012.
The Huffington Post reports that these raises are not much, amounting to around 28 to 39 cents an hour, but will mean hundreds of dollars more annually for minimum wage employees.
Washington states will raise thier rates the highest, to $9.04. Arizona, Colorado, Ohio, Oregon, Florida, Montana, and Vermont are the other states raising the minimum hourly rate, with Colorado receiving the lowest boost.
Some states have laws on the books requiring hourly pay to be adjusted every year for rising cost of living and basic necessities. These eight states, plus two others have such laws. Nevada and and Missouri have these laws as well; Nevada raised its hourly rate in the summer of 2011. Missouri does have cost-of-living adjustments, but this year the state will not push their rate above the prevailing $7.25 federal minimum wage.
The Huffington Post points out that “the federal minimum wage is not automatically adjusted for inflation and requires new legislation each time it increases. Thirty-two states currently have minimum wages no higher than the federal rate.” The Post’s article goes on to say that some states are not happy with the rates set by their state government and have “passed local ordinances establishing their own minimum wage.”
On the opposing side, many trade groups and business owners argue that a high minimum wage forces businesses, particularly restaurants, to cut staff and puts many people out of work.