Minimum Wages Set to Increase in 24 States Next Year
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Minimum Wages Set to Increase in 24 States Next Year

With the new year just ahead, it looks as though several Americans will be seeing a raise in the coming weeks. As CNN reports, minimum wage hikes are set to take effect in 24 states throughout 2020. Moreover increases will also take place in 48 cities and counties across the country. While the majority of these changes will be effective as of January 1st — with 20 states and 25 cities observing New Years Day hikes — an additional four states and other cities have increases planned for later 2020 dates. Interestingly New York’s raise will actually go into effect on December 31st of this year. Meanwhile the state of Illinois and the city of Saint Paul, Minnesota will both raise their minimums twice during 2020.

Once these hikes are enacted, there will be 17 cities or counties with minimum wages equal to or exceeding $15 an hour. This is notable as the figure has been touted by striking fast food workers as well as presidential candidates, even inspiring the “Fight for 15” campaign. That movement also helped inspire the Raise the Wage Act, which was passed by the House of Representatives earlier this year but was rejected by the Senate. The bill would have raised the federal minimum wage from the current $7.25 to $15.

The National Employment Law Project also notes that seven states will install regularly rising minimum wages tied to the consumer price index. As a result, wages will increase each year along with inflation.

In a blog post cataloging the impending increases, researcher and policy analyst Yannet Lathrop wrote, “These increases will put much-needed money into the hands of the lowest-paid workers, many of whom struggle with high and ever-increasing costs of living.” However some argue that raising the minimum wage could have a negative effect on jobs. For example a Congressional Budget Office report suggested that $15 an hour minimum wage would cost the U.S. 1.3 million jobs.

Although the current divided Congress all but ensures that the Raise the Wage Act, nor similar legislation, will reach the President’s desk in 2020 (and, if it did, he’d be unlikely to sign it), it’s a certainty that minimum wage will continue to be a big issue throughout the year. Beyond the impending local and state hikes, rest assured that the remaining candidates in the Democratic Presidential race will be weighing in on wages as we approach November’s general election — not to mention the congressional and senate races that could well shake up the makeup of the Legislative Branch. So while $15 may not be an across the board baseline now, perhaps 2021 will have something to say about that.

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