Sound Off: Arkansas Moves to Increase Minimum Wage - The Arkansas Traveler: Opinion

Sound Off: Arkansas Moves to Increase Minimum Wage

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Posted: Saturday, January 18, 2014 8:00 am


A ballot proposal to raise Arkansas’s minimum wage by about $2.25 was approved by the Arkansas attorney general’s office on Friday.  

The proposal--by the group Give Arkansas a Raise Now-- would raise the minimum wage from $6.25 to $8.50 by 2017.  

The initiated act would raise the current minimum wage gradually with a slight increase as of January 2015 and the final increase in January 2017.  

This proposal is well overdue for working class Arkansans.  According to a recent ABC news article on the subject, the state of Arkansas falls in line with other states who have an exceptionally low minimum wage.

Compared to other states such as Washington DC (at about $9/hour) or Oregon (at about $9/hour), Arkansas doesn’t even come close.  Suffice to say Arkansans have been getting jipped.  

What’s most surprising to me is the fact that the current minimum wage is so low--I didn’t expect that any state’s minimum wage would fall below $7/hour but I was so wrong.

I think this measure is a positive push in the right direction for this state.  With a growing student population and the cost of living on a steady rise, raising the minimum seems almost obvious if not necessary.

The loss of jobs doesn’t necessarily worry me just yet in regards to this proposal.  If deemed state law, employers will have to comply and cut back on other aspects of business so they can pay their employees.

If employers can’t comply, their business won’t prosper without employees working for them.  In light of this, business owners (especially small business owners) should begin preparing now.  If factors like overhead or supply costs can be attained at lower costs employers should think about making a change.

I think one of the positive things about this idea is that the quality of life may improve.  If the quality of living doesn’t rise along with the minimum wage the middle class  will remain as a steady middle maybe even reaching upper-middle by 2017.

Now if the cost of living does increase I don’t think the quality of living will take a hit--I think those working at a minimum wage will be able to keep up with the trend and maintain their way of life.

In order to make it to the November ballot backers of the measure need 62,507 verified signatures of registered voters and my signature will definitely be one of them.  


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