Starting on July 24, the Federal minimum wage is increasing from $6.55 to $7.25 per hour, the last part of the 2007 minimum wage legislation passed by Congress. A recent Economic Policy Institute study found that the increase will generate an economic stimulus in the form of $5.5 billion in additional consumer spending over the next 12 months. "Unlike tax cuts for the wealthy, a higher minimum wage increases consumer spending on local businesses, which is good for everyone," points out Rep. George Miller, the lead sponsor of the bill in the House (Sen. Kennedy was the chief sponsor in the Senate).
"Tomorrow's minimum wage increase is an important step in strengthening our economy by putting $1,400 a year in the pockets of 13 million hardworking Americans who make the Federal minimum wage," said SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger. "But when we can give the very banks that tanked our economy more than $24 trillion in bailout funds and other guarantees, which amounts to almost $80,000 for every American, we must do more to help working families." (Read our statement on the wage increase here).
Workers in 31 states will see the numbers in their paychecks go up as a result of the raise in the minimum wage going into effect Friday. For the The remaining states already have state minimum wage rates the same or higher than Friday's new federal rate. The states that will see an increase are: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Just in case you prefer visuals to lists, here's a map from the Department of Labor explaining how the wage increase will (or won't) affect each state:
The minimum wage increase will strengthen America's economy - but we need to do more to help working families. Add your name to the petition for Employee Free Choice.