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The Minimum Wage


September 14, 2018

A Zion-Benton Times Staff Report

In the United States, the nationwide federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. That rate was set in July 2009. However, every state can control their own minimum wage. The same can be said for specific towns, cities, municipalities, and counties.

In Illinois, the minimum wage is $8.25 an hour, with the City of Chicago’s wage set at $13 an hour, to be fully implemented in 2019. In 2017, lawmakers in the State of Illinois attempted to pass a bill which would increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022. Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed the bill.

Up to $12.50 in some states many people see the higher wages as a good thing, as it will help workers to have more money in their pockets. Eighteen states began 2018 with higher minimum wages. Eight states (Alaska, Florida, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, and South Dakota) increased their rates based on the cost of living, while eleven states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington) increased their rates due to previously approved legislation or ballots.

At $11 an hour, California’s minimum wage is one of the highest in the country, but many of the state’s municipalities have even higher rates. In San Francisco and Berkeley, for example, the minimum wage is set to reach $15 in 2018, and in Los Angeles, large employers will soon have a minimum wage of $13.25.

Florida increased its minimum wage by 15 cents to $8.25 in early 2018. Although Florida’s economy is quite prosperous at the moment and many big employers, like Disney World and Target, are already paying workers a minimum of $10 an hour, the state’s minimum wage has not kept up with inflation over the years.

Twenty-nine states, like Arizona (at $10.50/hour), have minimum wages set at higher than the federal limit of $7.25, with more states trying to enact higher wages as well. With other changing laws, minimum wage is a key focus for many governments as they try to address the public’s concerns as people continue to raise their concerns about low wages.


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