Arkansas voters will decide in a few weeks whether to increase the state’s minimum wage.
An initiative on the ballot proposes to increase the minimum wage from $6.25 per hour to $7.50 on Jan. 1, 2015, and to $8.50 on Jan. 1, 2017. The popular name of the initiative is "An Act to Increase the Arkansas Minimum Wage."
According to the Arkansas Department of Labor, "All employers with four or more employees must pay at least $6.25 per hour. If the employer does more than $500,000 per year in business, they must pay the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Certain other situations may also require an employer to pay the federal minimum wage."
According to online research, the ballot initiative was sponsored by Give Arkansas a Raise Now. Other supporters are the Arkansas Interfaith Alliance, NAACP-Arkansas Chapter, AFL-CIO and the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance. Organizations opposing the increases include the Arkansas Hospitality Association and the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce.
Candidates who told the Log Cabin Democrat they are in favor of the measure include State Rep. Steve Magie, Shannon Taylor, Frank Shaw, State Sen. Jason Rapert and Tyler Pearson. State Rep. David Meeks opposes the measure.
A few other states have minimum wage increase measures on their ballots this year. Nebraska will vote whether to increase its minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 by 2016. South Dakota voters will decide whether to bump up minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 by 2015. In Alaska, the voting public will be asked whether the current minimum wage of $7.75 should be increased to $9.75 by 2016.
(Staff writer Rachel Parker Dickerson can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)