Several states and cities are considering minimum wage increases, to as much as $15 an hour in some cases. That would ratchet up restaurants’ labor costs and result in thousands of jobs lost.
The playing field
Here’s what’s happening in some areas where legislation passed or is planned:
Mayor Catherine Pugh vetoed a minimum-wage increase passed by the City Council and pushed by The Fight for $15. The group had pressed the issue in radio ads, on social media and with the City Council. The bill’s lead sponsor, Mary Pat Clarke, didn’t have enough signatures to try and override the veto. She said she plans to launch a petition to put the matter before voters in 2018.
In November, voters approved Proposition 414, which would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2021. However, the City Council recently voted to slow the increase somewhat. Set to take effect this summer, it will raise the wage to $10.50 an hour instead of $12. Operators in the city say the wage hike will cause financial hurt to many small businesses.
Governor Terry Branstad signed a bill increasing the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour. House File 295 also prohibits counties from setting their own minimum-wage laws. Despite passage of the state bill, Lee County approved an increase to $8.20 an hour, but the state law should countermand it and four others.
Gov. Susana Martinez has until April 7 to sign or veto 220 bills, one of which is a minimum wage increase from $7.50 to $9 an hour. The Governor has said she will veto the proposed increase.
State representatives recently passed House Bill 1194/1193, which bars cities and counties from raising the wage above the state’s current $7.70 an hour. It is pending in the senate.
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