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The Voter’s Speakeasy featuring unbiased reporting and insight into life at Project Vote Smart from our staff, interns, and volunteers.

The Minimum Wage Debate

2016 August 01

Following years of political debate surrounding wealth inequality and poverty, consumers and business owners alike will soon be seeing the actual effect of a polarizing and lasting change in several state economies. Some legislators are beginning to act on the task of increasing the minimum wage, while others are actively trying to stop the increases.


States in all regions of the United States are now responding to the concerns voiced by movements like the Fight for 15, which started to gain traction and media coverage in 2013 and 2014 for demanding higher wages at work to combat poverty in working families. It is 2016, and bills are now being voted on to address the topic of wages.


Though SB 3 was introduced in the California Senate in December of 2014, the most recent version of the bill was only recently agreed on in a Senate concurrence vote in March of this year. If signed by Governor Jerry Brown, SB 3 will gradually increase the minimum wage from $10 to $15 over a span of seven years.


In Oregon, Governor Kate Brown recently signed into law SB 1532, which will increase the minimum wage in Oregon similarly to the California bill.


An effort to lift families out of poverty and distribute wealth more evenly, these bills intend to gradually change the economy without completely shaking it. This cautiousness, however, reveals a concern from opponents of increasing the minimum wage.


Opposition bills like Alabama HB 174 and Idaho H 463 operate on the idea that raising the ...

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