Minimum Wage Hikes in 2014

January 8, 2014

As the Senate promises to soon take up legislation increasing the federal minimum wage, many states have already agreed to hikes in required wages—with potential action for more in 2014.

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), who chairs the Senate’s Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, says he will bring a bill before his committee in the next few weeks to increase the minimum wage nationally. The proposed bill would increase the minimum wage to $9.80 per hour. There is a companion bill in the House offered by Rep. George Miller (D-CA), but the bill is unlikely to move forward in the Republican-controlled House.

The Obama Administration has decided to make a the minimum wage a key issue in 2014, as the Administration looks to find wedge issues that can help the Democrats in this year’s mid-term elections. The minimum wage and income equality issues are expected to significant attention in the State of the Union address later this month.

In the mean-time, the real action has been in the states, with fourteen states—in all parts of the country—having already approved wage hikes, generally taking effect this month. Those states include Arizona, California (effective July 1), Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. The new wages range from $7.90 per hour in Arizona to $9.32 in Washington. More states are expected to debate increases in 2014.