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Minimum Wage Hikes

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In the new year, 14 states had minimum wage hikes go into effect.

As the United States marks more than six years without an increase in the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, 14 states and several cities are moving forward with their own increases, with most set to start taking effect on Friday.

California and Massachusetts are highest among the states, both increasing from $9 to $10 an hour, according to an analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures. At the low end is Arkansas, where the minimum wage is increasing from $7.50 to $8. The smallest increase, a nickel, comes in South Dakota, where the hourly minimum is now $8.55.

The increases come in the wake of a series of “living wage” protests across the country, including a November campaign in which thousands of protesters in 270 cities marched in support of a $15-an-hour minimum wage and union rights for fast food workers. Food service workers make up the largest group of minimum-wage earners, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

I can’t say I’m sure what the rational is to raise the minimum wage by a mere nickel, but it’s South Dakota. In any case, this shows the continued popularity of growing minimum wages, even in conservative states like Arkansas. If there was any real accountability for members of Congress, they would raise the national minimum wage by at least $1, but with gerrymandering and corporate funding, Congress can completely ignore most of the will of the voters and serve their corporate masters with no threat to their jobs.

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