When the new year begins, 21 states will have minimum wage increases with strong support from business owners. These include 12 states that enacted increases through legislation and ballot measures and 9 states that adjust their minimum wage annually to keep up with the cost of living. Business owners believe these state minimum wage increases make good business sense and would also like to see Congress raise the federal minimum wage, which has been stuck at $7.25 since 2009, to benefit the U.S. economy nationwide.
The 21 states that will have higher minimum wages on January 1 are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia as well as New York, where the increase takes effect the day before, on December 31. The nine states with annual cost of living increases on Jan. 1 are Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon and Washington. The Massachusetts minimum wage of $11 on Jan. 1, 2017 (up from $9 on Jan. 1, 2015 and $10 on Jan. 1, 2016) is the nation’s highest scheduled state minimum wage rate so far.
Numerous business owners are available for comment from states with New Year’s increases as well as other states. More than 1,000 small business owners and CEOs of large brands such as Costco have signed the Business for a Fair Minimum Wage Statement to raise the federal minimum wage to at least $10.10. They agree that raising the minimum wage will boost consumer spending, decrease employee turnover, increase productivity and customer satisfaction, and strengthen the economy. Increasing the minimum wage will also reduce the strain on our social safety net caused by inadequate wages.
The most recent poll of small business owners with employees (PDF) shows very strong support (61%) nationwide for raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 and adjusting it annually to keep pace with the cost of living.