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ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Minimum-wage increase proposals are getting the maximum push from Democrats in statehouses in more than half of U.S. states, highlighting the politically potent income inequality issue this year.
Lawmakers in at least 30 states are sponsoring or are expected to introduce wage hike measures, according to a national review by The Associated Press. They hope to notch state-level victories as President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats remain stymied in attempts to raise the federal minimum wage above $7.25 an hour. The president is expected to mention the minimum wage in his State of the Union address Tuesday.
Even in Republican-dominated capitals where the bills are longshots, the measures still give Democrats a chance to hammer home the popular theme of fair wages in what is an election year in most places.
"It's a no-brainer for any Democrat," said Neil Sroka, a strategist for progressive groups who is communications director at the Howard Dean-founded Democracy for America. "Congress is failing. They can take real action right in the states and have a demonstrable impact right here at home. For politics and policy, it's a winning strategy."
Minimum wage is a perennial issue that has taken on a higher profile amid the slowly recovering economy and growing public debate about income inequality. A Quinnipiac University poll this month found 71 percent of Americans in favor of raising the minimum wage - including more than half of Republicans polled.
Michael Sargeant, executive director of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, calls it an "organic issue that's bubbling up from the grassroots." But it's also being pressed by politicians and labor unions. Democrats challenging Republican governors have taken up the issue, and there are ballot initiatives in several states.
"We are facing a huge income gap that only continues to widen, where the workers at the top see large wage increases and the workers at the bottom are at a standstill. That needs to change," said Massachusetts Democratic Senate President Therese Murray.
Five states passed minimum wage measures last year, and advocates hope that number will grow as states from New Hampshire to Washington consider proposals. Many would push families above the federal poverty line, which is $15,730 for a family of two. In Iowa, a bill would hike the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10. A Rhode Island bill would raise it from $8 to $9. And a year after New York approved a multiyear minimum wage hike, Assembly Democrats introduced another bill for 2014 sponsored by Labor Committee Chairman Carl Heastie of New York City that would accelerate the increase.
Labor unions and other advocates point to workers like Andrew Lloyd, who cleans the cabins, bathrooms and cockpits of airplanes between flights at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City for $8 an hour. With a wife and 1-year-old, he relies on food stamps to help stock the refrigerator and his paychecks barely cover diapers and other needs of his daughter. He said he can't afford a new pair of socks for himself.
"It's not enough. What we're making is not enough to support," Lloyd said. "There's just no way they can justify what is going on is right."
Opponents, many of them Republicans, argue that the higher wages translate into fewer jobs and higher consumer costs. So wage hike bills in Republican-controlled legislatures, like Florida and South Carolina, are not expected to pass. In Florida, Gov. Rick Scott said the claim that working families need the boost to make ends meet makes him "cringe, because I know that statement is a lie."
"Even if we did raise the minimum wage, working families will still not be able to make ends meet on those jobs," Scott said. "We need good jobs that lead to good careers for our families, and that's what I am focused on."
Already, a Democrat-backed bill to increase Indiana's minimum wage by $1 was blocked by majority Republicans on a party-line vote Tuesday.
Win or lose, the legislation gives Democrats a potential weapon against Republican opponents. Eddie Vale, a Democratic strategist with close ties to labor unions, said Republicans who oppose a wage hike will face fierce criticism.
"There's a lot of people in this state that are making the minimum wage that are voting Republican right now," said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner of Tennessee, where they plan to introduce a minimum wage bill this year. "Maybe if they see that they don't have their best interests in their heart, they might change their minds."
There's hope that success will breed more success. Vale, a top adviser at the Democratic super PAC American Bridge, said the thinking behind the push is to get things started at the state level, where lawmakers come into more direct contact with their constituents. Once state legislatures start moving, it will lend momentum to a federal expansion.
In Minnesota, Rep. Ryan Winkler said as the debate spreads to more states, lawmakers might be more comfortable boosting the wage floor in his state.
"It's not peer pressure, but it's safety in numbers," Winkler said. "It makes people feel like this is a mainstream thing to do."
Contributing were Associated Press writers Philip Elliott in Washington; Steve LeBlanc in Boston; Gary Fineout in Tallahassee, Fla.; Erik Schelzig in Nashville, Tenn.; and Tom LoBianco in Indianapolis.
Raising minimun wage will result in increase in comodity prices like milk, eggs, electricity ect.. fast food rerstaurant will hicke their price all service will increase in prices, basically the low income person and famillies will be hurt the most. The issue of income gap between the rich and the poor will not be solved by increasing the minimum wages. I don't have any idea how to solve this problem.
These Liberals don't care, they have an agenda that defies all logic, economics and rationality. Let them do it. This is an election year,. the biggest issue we face today is Amnesty. If they pass it, we are all done. During the same press announcement they will give these criminals the right to vote. After that we are all screwed if this happens. The criminals will join forces with the criminals in power and we will never get rid of the welfare mentality again.
This situation will NEVER get any better for ANY average Worker as long as we are a Nation of "Sound Bite" Voters , and locked in the tug between Far Left and Far Right. Neither is what America was intended to be. And doing 100 percent of eithers "Ideal" will lead to destruction.
Bottom line? Are you willing to pay $2.00 or $3.00 more for a fast food burger? Or any fast food? Because in the end it is you that will pay it! It isnt the politicians. An American makes a product for $100.00 China makes the same product for $40.00. Which one are you going to buy? Seriously.
To pa5m --- They are overseas making their products because of the corruption and greed of the unions and the government. They cannot make it here cheaper! When the unions demand three times the normal wage plus overpriced benefits for similar jobs in the rest of the US they cannot sell it cheaper and make a profit. They take loss after loss after loss. They are in business to make a profit in order to stay in business! How long do you think any of them would have had a job when it costs $100 to make it and they can't sell it in the market for more than $50. (Just an example for those who want to play the word game.) A company pays $5,000,000 to manufacture and market their products and can only get a $3,000,000 return is going to tank in short order. Just common sense economics!Who ever started the thinking that a company is solely in business for the support and enrichment of their work force has done this country great harm! Get real, you don't pay your plumber, electrician, painter or anyone else ANYMORE THAN YOU HAVE TO out of your hard earned money and NEITHER DO COMPANIES!!!
HOW TO GET CONNED IN ONE SIMPLE ARTICLE. And it really BS with a capital "B". When are the people in this country going to wise up the Politicians and Union bosses. The cycle has come around again for the umpteenth time, increase the minimum wage or continue long term unemployment checks. The Politician use it to garner votes because they are looking out for the Working class and by giving you a penitence they get your gratitude and vote, the Union bosses get more dues and get richer while you work, kind of like being on commissions, then in another 10 years or so they come around again and do the same thing.Have you ever wondered why they have never come up with a solution once and for all, we put a man on the moon and yet we can not solve moving people out of poverty. We spend billions on food stamps more billions on relief programs and very few if any get out from under the burden of being poor.Fast simple solution, first the government cuts all corporate welfare and tax credits, then stops all food stamp or entitlement programs, gathers all this money together, makes a contract with an employee to subsidies his or her salary if they work and learn a trade. Remember the WPA work program? This program could be similar but not as wasteful in that the employee would be accomplishing something, gaining experience in a carrier and getting pride in their skills rather than being looked upon as being a burden on the economy. Farm worker or temporary seasonal jobs as well as what would be considered a minimum wage job could be subsided by these funds rather then giving GE a credit when its profit potential does not require a subsidy just because some one whats to support "Green". Is Green more important the peoples livelihood, or self-respect. I do not think so, but apparently these Politicians and Unions do not want you to get out of the hole you are in so they use you again in the dear and near future. Fix the problems, do not put band aids on them, or get out of the way. If the politicians are smart enough to get their pay raises which is unconstitutional with out the vote of the people, it would seem to me they could do something more then hold the poor hostage. By the way these are Democrats, I speak of, you know the ones who look after the working class after they have given the major portion of your money to their sponsors. Same goes for those union guy who vacation in the Caribbean while you are sweating in the factories until its time for then to come and steel your tax monies getting perks for the Bureaucrats that work for the same guy who is trying to get your vote.
If you want to save $ and skewer someone .........Do it to the Illegal Alien . Or Career "Parent" with 16 Kids , getting a check for each. NOT the Worker , Elderly or Disabled. If we did that , we would have far more than enough. Thats a Savings Of many Billions a Year. But why not? Repubs like the Cheap Labor , and Dems like the Instant Vote
How about getting an education so you can get a better job. Why do people want to start at the top. Half of the people you see in these jobs can't even make change on their own. If it wasn't for the register telling them how much to give back, they wouldn't have a clue. And you want to give them more money so the prices of everything will go up? Smart, real smart.....NOT!
Hey Democrats, wouldn't it be much easier to close the income gap if the government would repeal many of the regulations that prevent job creation in the private sector? 1.6% of the work force earns minimum wage. Wouldn't job creation be a better answer? Oh, my bad, that wouldn't create more government handout votes.
yea ur burger at mcdonalds will go up a penny or the crap at walmart will go up a penny....o the horror
yes lets deregulate little more so wv has no water at all
P.S. Reasonable profit is one thing for a company, but when a company's investors are raking in hundreds of millions of dollars and even BILLIONS, while its employees make a mere pitance, then the profit margins are out of control. When the top CEO of Facebook or Amazon have personal incomes of BILLIONS, is it too much to expect that their employees make more?
This is ridiculous! Wait until these companies start requiring a college degree! Then where will these entry level burger flippers be? Kids with a degree will work for $10/ Hr. until they find a real job! Who ever told these people they could improve their lot in life by staying at a low skilled entry level job forever. This country is insane. McDonalds is experiencing flat or NO growth. They have already shrunk their portion sizes to nothing. If they raise prices, the public will vote with their wallet. I took out a cup of coffee from Dunkin Donuts the other day that was advertised as ten ounces. It looked and felt smaller. I told the clerk it was more like 6 ounces, she gave me the company script, I'm sorry sir this is the company policy? What does that even mean? So I got home and dumped the coffee in a measuring cup. It topped out at 7 ounces. At 15 cents an ounce, they screwed ne out of 45 cents! Thats missing 1/3 of their advertised amount. Now coffee doesnt shrink on the grill so you would think they could get it right. Buyer beware.
No one should be working for less than $10 per hour and thats not alot to live on either. This should include bussers, servers, waiters/waitresses and those in the food industry that make FAR less than the current minimum wage of $7.25 now. Then we can get off the "tip" merry go round that everyone is subjected to, except for unique and unusual circumstances. But passed that industry, everyone else needs to catch up.
In other words, it's OK to raise the minimum wage as long as it doesn't come out of your pocket. I have news for you, it comes out of your pocket whether you want to or not.
Another way the NASTY DEMOCRATS AND LIBERALS will use and have used to make more people dependent on the free loaders and grow their party.We republicans should have a law passed stating ANYONE receiving any type of welfare can not vote until they get off welfare.
You'd have to change the US Constitution if it went that way. Never gonna happen. Just post in normal opinions ..Any outstanding and ridiculous posts are usually overlooked by the more intelliegent but i feel you ought to be told rather than make a mockery of yourself.