$10 Federal Minimum Wage Bill Gains Traction
As the state of New Jersey raised its minimum wage to $8.25 and the Washington city of Sea-Tac raised its minimum wage to $15, a Democratic-led movement to increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10 is gaining traction with President Barack Obama throwing his support behind the bill.
The President discussed a minimum wage increase to $9 in his State of the Union address this year but little has gotten done in Washington. Now, with the budget and debt ceiling off the table for a couple of months, Senator Tom Harkin and Congressman George Miller are pushing for the passage of the Fair Minimum Wage Act.
The bill would raise the current minimum wage of $7.25 to $10.10 over two years. The bill would also tie future minimum wage increases to inflation, meaning the minimum wage would increase automatically, similar to the cost-of-living formula New Jersey passed in their minimum wage increase.
Of course, the idea of Congress supporting a Democratic proposal seems almost outlandish these days. In March, every Republican in the House voted against increasing the minimum wage.
Still, American employees do have hope in the form of a big tax sweetener for small businesses that would help them absorb the wage increase. The bill would allow businesses to write off as much as $500,000 in investments on their tax returns in the first year, a provision that has already won the bill additional support.
Another positive sign is strong public support for increasing the minimum wage on both sides of the political spectrum. A recent poll by Hart Research found that 80 percent of Americans support a $10.10 minimum wage with 92 percent of Democrats and 62 percent of Republican backing the proposal.
Of course, we will likely have to wait until after the Republican primaries in the summer for anything to get done on any issue. There may also be push back on the $10.10 amount with some arguing that a $9 minimum wage increase, like the one Obama promised in his State of the Union, is a better figure.
(Image: US Army)