State and Local Officials Join the President in Year of Action to Raise the Minimum Wage

Yesterday, Governor Martin O’Malley signed legislation adding Maryland to the growing list of states following the President’s call to raise the minimum wage for workers across the country. And today, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter announced he is taking action at the local level to increase the minimum wage for city contractors and subcontractors to $12 an hour starting in January.

As the President restated last week, he believes that no one working a full-time job should have to raise a family in poverty. Most Americans agree. In fact, around three out of four Americans support raising the minimum wage. That’s why we’re asking state and local officials across the country to join the President to make this a year of action and raise the minimum wage. 

During his State of the Union address, the President encouraged Congress to support lifting the federal minimum wage to $10.10 while urging state and local officials to take action without waiting for Congress: “To every mayor, governor, and state legislator in America, I say, you don’t have to wait for Congress to act.” A month later, four governors – Dannel Malloy of Connecticut, Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, and Peter Shumlin of Vermont – appeared on stage with the President in Connecticut to support raising the minimum wage to $10.10. 

In the year since the President first called on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage, 10 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws to increase the minimum wage. Without waiting on Congress to act, three of those states – Connecticut, Maryland, and Hawaii – are lifting their minimum wages to $10.10 an hour, and other states and localities are considering similar legislation. If Congress acts to raise the federal minimum wage, more than 28 million workers across the country would see a direct increase in their wages.

Here is a quick summary of actions over the past year: 

  • New York – In April 2013, Gov. Cuomo approved the state budget raising New York’s minimum wage to $9 in 2016.
  • Rhode Island – Gov. Chafee signed legislation in July lifting the state minimum wage to $8 by 2014.
  • California – A few months later, California became the state with the highest minimum wage law in the country when it raised the state’s minimum wage to $10 by 2016.
  • New Jersey – Voters approved a ballot measure in November boosting New Jersey’s minimum wage to $8.25 with annual increases for inflation.
  • District of Columbia – In December, the District of Columbia elevated its minimum wage to $11.50 by 2016 with annual increases for inflation. Neighboring counties in Maryland – Montgomery and Prince George’s counties – approved parallel bills in November raising their minimum wage to $11.50 by 2017.
  • Delaware – Gov. Markell signed a bill in January raising Delaware’s minimum wage to $8.25 by 2015.
  • Connecticut – In March, Connecticut became the first state to raise its minimum wage to $10.10 by 2017. This followed a minimum wage increase last year to $9 in 2015.
  • West Virginia – Gov. Tomblin signed a bill in early April increasing the minimum wage in West Virginia to $8.75 by 2016.
  • Maryland – On April 7, Maryland’s legislature approved a bill lifting the minimum wage to $10.10 in 2018. Gov. O’Malley signed the bill into law yesterday. 
  • Minnesota – Gov. Dayton signed a bill increasing the minimum wage to $9.50 by 2016 with future increases tied to inflation in Minnesota on April 12.
  • Hawaii – Last week, the Hawaii legislature voted to raise the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 by 2018.

For more information, including a state-by-state breakdown of how raising the minimum wage would benefit Americans across the country, go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/raise-the-wage.

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