Although federal minimum wage talks have stalled in Congress, across the country there are an increasing number cities and states proposing minimum wage hikes at the local level.
Seattle, San Francisco, Santa Fe, and Washington D.C., are some of the latest in a long line of municipalities that have approved an increase to minimum wages. The Seattle Times reports that in late April, the Seattle City Council approved the nation’s highest minimum hourly wage at $15 per hour. At the state level, thirteen states, including Connecticut, Maryland, Hawaii, Vermont, and Minnesota have also passed bills to increase the minimum wage within their borders.
Critics have pointed out some of the problems with the increased minimum wage. Forbes points to losses in other benefits when worker wages are increased, as employers attempt to compensate for the increase in wage costs.
Here in Georgia, the issue continues to be politically contentious. Georgia continues to have one of the lowest minimum wages in the country, currently at $5.15, although business owners are required to comply with the federal minimum of $7.25.
There has been some public outcry over the prospect of increasing the minimum wage, including protests organized at Atlanta-area fast-food restaurants last winter.
A bill to increase the minimum wage was again defeated at the Georgia General Assembly this year. As in recent legislative sessions, any proposed increase in Georgia would not proceed without a fight. The Georgia Restaurant Association has just come out publically against any proposed increase in the federal minimum wage. According to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, and the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the restaurant association contends that increasing the minimum wage from the current $7.25 to the proposed $10.10 could result in losses of more than 21,000 jobs in Georgia. The group cites a study by Trinity University economics professor David Macpherson to back its claims.
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