3 of 4 Americans Approve of Raising Minimum Wage
An overwhelming majority of Americans support efforts to raise the minimum wage, according to a new national poll.
Gallup says 76% of respondents to a survey conducted November 5-6 back a plan to increase the minimum wage from the current $7.25 to $9 an hour.
A similar percentage (69%) said they would also support a bump to $9/hour plus automatic increases based on the inflation rate.
The federal minimum wage is currently not adjusted for inflation.
Voters in New Jersey approved a change in the state’s constitution earlier this month that elevated the state’s minimum wage to $8.25 and called for more increases when inflation occurs.
The plan was originally approved by the state legislature, but Republican Governor Chris Christie vetoed it, saying the increase would be too hard on businesses. So supporters placed the matter on the state ballot, where it passed 61% to 39% on Election Day.
In Washington, DC, President Barack Obama has publicly backed legislation that would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 over time and index it to inflation. That legislation, the Fair Minimum Wage Act (pdf), is sponsored by two Democrats, Sen.Tom Harkin of Iowa and Rep. George Miller of California. The raise would take place over two years, with three separate increases of 95 cents each. It would likely be combined with some breaks for small businesses, such as allowing up to a half-million dollars in tax deductions for investments in equipment.
Labor advocates argue minimum wage laws should include adjustments for inflation, noting that the real value of the wage has declined by 33% since its peak in 1968.
Currently, more than 40% of all states (21, plus the District of Columbia) have adopted their own minimum wage laws that exceed the federal rate.
In September, California passed a law that will raise its minimum wage to $10 an hour by 2016.
The highest state minimum wage in the country is $9.19 an hour in Washington State. Some cities exceed that, such as San Francisco, where the wage is $10.55 an hour.
The last time Congress passed a federal minimum wage increase was in 2007, which over two years brought it up to its current level of $7.25.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, Danny Biederman
To Learn More:
Most Americans for Raising Minimum Wage (by Andrew Dugan, Gallup)
$10 Minimum Wage Proposal Has Growing Support From White House (by Catherine Rampell and Steven Greenhouse, New York Times)
States Moving Beyond U.S. Minimum Wage as Congress Stalls (by William Selway and Jim Efstathiou Jr., Bloomberg)
Minimum Wage, Factoring for Inflation, is Lower than in 1956 (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
Minimum Wage for Tipped Workers Hasn’t Changed in More Than 20 Years (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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