Washington state minimum wage flux

The Puyallup Post

 

Sarah Balough

Reporter

Washington state has one of the highest minimum wages in America, but still on Jan. 1, the minimum wage for employees working in Washington increased to $9.19 per hour.

On the same day, the minimum wage for employees in Oregon rose to $8.95 per hour. With these increases Washington and Oregon remain the two states with the highest minimum wage rates in the country.

Wages in Washington state increased by 15 cents per hour this year. This rate applies to workers in all industries, including agriculture.

This increase doesn’t apply to 14- to 15-year-old workers who still will be paid 85 percent of the adult minimum wage, or $7.81 an hour.

While Washington is a state with one of the highest minimum wages, it’s not the only states where wages will be altered. Other states like Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Montana, Ohio and Vermont will see a pay increase. Rhode Island has the largest pay change at an increase of 35 cents per hour.

An estimated 855,000 workers in the nation will be affected by this increase, and an additional 140,000 workers with wages just above the new minimum wage are speculated to receive small raises.

Minimum wage was increased in these states to correct inflation from the previous year. The increase will have broader effects though. Many small business owners predict that the increase in wages will also bring an increase in prices.

The Washington government officials said prices of products probably will increase, but they anticipate the minimum wage increase could generate an average of $310 per year for each low-wage earning worker.

The wage increase is projected to boost consumer spending by $29 million in 2013. But with the heightened cost of basic necessities due to the increase in wages many are speculative on whether or not there will be any economical benefit with the increase.

Economic expert Richard K. Vedder said raising minimum wages doesn’t reduce poverty.

But Washington state is not increasing minimum wage to reduce poverty. The state’s minimum wage has fluctuated every year since voters passed an equal pay initiative in 1998.

2013 marks the 13th change in the state’s minimum wage. This fluctuation has wide spread effects on national and local businesses as well as other industries.

While the minimum wage increase is largely viewed as a positive influence on the Washington state economy, others worry that it does more harm than good.

Fast food industries are anticipated to raise their prices in 2013, as well as stores like grocery stores, department stores and other businesses that offer basic staple goods.

An increase in prices that will only be combated next year when the minimum wage is adjusted for the 14th time in Washington state history.

The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost

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Washington state minimum wage flux

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