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National Restaurant Association - States, cities, continue to look at minimum wage hikes

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States, cities, continue to look at minimum wage hikes

As many state legislatures get ready to wrap up business for the year, nine states are still considering legislation to increase the minimum wage or tie future increases to inflation. So far, eight states—Vermont, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Michigan, Minnesota and Hawaii—have passed minimum wage increases this year. Legislation to increase the minimum wage has failed in 19 other states.

Here’s a rundown of the state bills that could be voted on before the end of the year:

  • California: The state senate approved a bill that would raise the state’s minimum wage, currently $8, to $13 by 2017. The state assembly has until August 31 to vote on the bill.
  • Illinois: Legislation has been introduced in the state house and senate to increase the minimum wage from $8.25 to $10.65 over three years. In addition, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel recently announced the formation of a task force to look at a possible increase in the city’s minimum wage.
  • Massachusetts: Separate bills calling for increases in the state’s minimum wage from $8 to $10.50 and $11 over three years have passed the state house and senate, respectively. The senate bill calls for future, automatic increases in the minimum wage based on inflation.
  • New Jersey: A bill has been introduced to increase the minimum cash wage for tipped employees from $2.13 to $3.39 at the end of this year and $5.93 by 2015.
  • New York:  Legislation has been introduced that would increase the state’s minimum wage from $8 to $9 immediately, rather than by the end of 2015 as is currently planned, and index future increases to inflation. Another bill calls for an increase to $10.10, and another targets “formula retail stores,” or retail chains, for a $15 minimum wage.
  • North Carolina: State lawmakers are considering two bills to index future minimum wage increases to inflation.
  • Pennsylvania: A bill filed with the state house of representatives would increase the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 and $10.10 a year later, with future increases made according to inflation.
  • Rhode Island: The state senate is considering legislation to increase the minimum wage from $8 to $9 next year.
  • South Carolina: Legislation would increase the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25 and make automatic increases according to inflation going forward.

Questions on raising the minimum wage will be on ballots in Alaska and South Dakota this fall, and efforts are underway to collect signatures for ballot initiatives in Arkansas, Idaho, and Massachusetts. The number of signatures required for a question to appear on the ballot varies by state. Seven cities—five in California, plus Washington, D.C. and Las Cruces, N.M.—could also see November ballot initiatives on raising the minimum wage.

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