Make us your home page
Instagram

Inflation tie-in drives wide minimum wage disparity among states

Kaylee Feight makes minimum wage at Quiznos in Montana, where the rate goes up today.

Associated Press

Kaylee Feight makes minimum wage at Quiznos in Montana, where the rate goes up today.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — With a bump in the minimum wage to $9.19 an hour today, high school student Miranda Olson will edge closer to her goal of purchasing that black Volkswagen Beetle she's been researching online.

Olson works part time, after classes and on weekends. But the extra pennies she'll earn in 2013 will add up over the coming weeks and months.

"It's not much, but it's something," said Olson, 16, who works at Wagner's European Bakery and Cafe in Olympia. "Every bit helps."

Many workers around the country won't be as lucky as the ones in Washington state, which is raising its salary minimum even though it already has the highest state baseline in the country. Workers one state over — in Idaho — will make nearly $2 per hour less in 2013.

Automatic minimum wage increases designed to compensate for inflation have steadily pushed up salaries in some states, even through the recession, expanding the pay gap between areas that make annual adjustments and those that don't. Of the 10 states that will increase the minimum wage today, nine did so automatically to adjust for inflation. Among them is Florida, where the minimum wage goes up today by 12 cents per hour to $7.79.

Along with Washington and Florida, the changes will also occur in Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont.

The national minimum wage floor is $7.25 an hour.

Paul Sonn, legal co-director at the National Employment Law Project, hopes more states will start looking at automatic adjustments as the economy recovers. He said the model — which Washington first adopted in 1998 — helps avoid sudden jolts as states try to catch up to their peers.

"We think there's a case that it's better for everyone, including the business community, to have predictable, regular, small increases every year," Sonn said.

The automatic adjustments aren't much. Washington's bump of 15 cents will mean those who work 40-hour weeks will earn an extra $6 per week — or about $300 per year.

Hundreds of thousands of workers are expected to get a pay increase with the wage adjustments that begin today. Among the nine states with automatic adjustments happening this year, the average minimum wage is $8.12 per hour, up from a little under $8. States that do not have automatic changes operate with an average minimum wage of about $7.40 — a difference of about $1,500 per year for a full-time worker.

Groups like the National Restaurant Association oppose further increases in federal or state minimum wages, arguing that it's an ineffective way to reduce poverty and forces business owners to cut hours, raise prices or lay off workers.

Inflation tie-in drives wide minimum wage disparity among states 12/31/12 [Last modified: Monday, December 31, 2012 7:34pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pinellas licensing board asks Sen. Jack Latvala for $500,000 loan

    Local Government

    The troubled Pinellas County agency that regulates contractors wants Sen. Jack Latvala to help it get a $500,000 lifeline from the state to stay afloat.

    State Sen . Jack Latvala, R- Clearwater, is being asked to help the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board get $500,000 from the state so it can stay open beyond February.  [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  2. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally

    Business

    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  3. Tampa Club president seeks assessment fee from members

    News

    TAMPA — The president of the Tampa Club said he asked members last month to pay an additional assessment fee to provide "additional revenue." However, Ron Licata said Friday that the downtown business group is not in a dire financial situation.

    Ron Licata, president of the Tampa Club in downtown Tampa. [Tampa Club]
  4. Under Republican health care bill, Florida must make up $7.5 billion

    Markets

    If a Senate bill called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 becomes law, Florida's government would need to make up about $7.5 billion to maintain its current health care system. The bill, which is one of the Republican Party's long-promised answers to the Affordable Care Act imposes a cap on funding per enrollee …

    Florida would need to cover $7.5 billion to keep its health care program under the Republican-proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.  [Times file photo]
  5. Amid U.S. real estate buying binge by foreign investors, Florida remains first choice

    Real Estate

    Foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate recently skyrocketed to a new high with nearly half of all foreign sales happening in Florida, California and Texas.

    A National Association of Realtors annual survey found record volume and activity by foreign buyers of U.S. real estate. Florida had the highest foreign investment activity, followed by California and Texas. [National Association of Realtors]