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Four States Approve Minimum Wage Increases

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Election Day sparked major labor changes across many states.

On Tuesday, Arizona, Colorado, Maine and Washington passed higher minimum-wage incentives, The Wall Street Journal reported. Washington raised its minimum wage to $13.50 per hour, while the other three states increased theirs to $12 per hour. Minimum wage changes for all states will be effective by 2020.

“The minimum wage wins tonight show that progressive values live at the state level and at the ballot box,” said Ballot Initiative Strategy Center Justine Sarver.

According to Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s living-wage calculator, the U.S. living wage in 2015 was $15.12 per hour before taxes for a family of four with two working adults and two children.

Each state individually will also make the cut for MIT’s living-wage level, providing hourly earnings enough for individuals to support themselves and families. Currently, working adults in a family of four must earn $8.05 or more per hour to meet annual expenses in Arizona, meanwhile working adults with two children must earn $9.47 or more per hour to meet annual expenses in Washington.

Currently Washington, D.C. and 29 states possess minimum wages above the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

This year, fourteen states achieved higher minimum wages. States that raised their minimum wage rates included Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont and West Virginia. Twelve of the states increased their minimum wage rates along with 2014 and 2015 legislation actions, while two states immediately raised their minimum wage rates due to the cost of living.

Some states also changed up their minimum wage laws in 2016. New York passed a law that would raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour in New York City by the end of 2018. Washington D.C. also proposed a similar law, boosting minimum wage in the District to $15 per hour by 2020. California also passed a law stating that the minimum wage will go up to $15 per hour by 2022. Oregon also proposed new legislation with annual minimum wage increases taking place between 2016 and 2023.

Other states with higher minimum wage rates above the federal rate include Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon and Washington.

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