Minimum Wage Roundup

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Here is a look at some of this week’s minimum wage stories from around the country. The American Booksellers Association is encouraging its members to reach out to town, county, or state officials to ensure they have a voice in any minimum wage discussions that take place in their communities.

Arizona: Desert Hot Springs Nixes Minimum Wage Increase

In a procedural vote on December 1, the new City Council of Desert Hot Springs, Arizona, rejected a move to increase the retail minimum wage. The vote was held to pre-empt a lengthy debate over the issue, reported the Desert Sun.

The minimum wage ordinance, first proposed in 2014, garnered a clear response from Walmart, which has been considering bringing a store to city for years. Walmart said it would “evaluate” its plans for the city if the new wage took effect, according to the Desert Sun.

The ordinance would have increased the minimum wage to $10.20 per hour for retailers building new stores in the city with gross sales of $500 million or more per year. The wage would have then increased $1 per hour in the following two years, with increases tied to the consumer price index after that. The law would have exempted union workers and franchisees, the article noted.

Delaware: State Senator Looks to Raise Minimum Wage

Delaware State Senator Bobby Marshall (D-Wilmington West) has introduced an amendment to increase the minimum wage to $15.05 per hour by 2023, as reported by The state’s minimum wage is presently $8.25 per hour.

Under Marshall’s amendment to legislation filed in the Delaware General Assembly, the state minimum wage would increase on June 1 of every year by 50 cents until the final four years, when it would increase by $1.20 each year through 2023, the article noted.

Marshall, who is running for the Democratic nomination for Wilmington mayor, told WDEL that the increasing number of people with low-wage jobs as well as rising poverty rates are the key reasons he is sponsoring the measure.

Maine: Bangor to Consider Minimum Wage Increase on December 14

The Bangor, Maine, City Council is set to consider a proposal that would gradually increase the city’s minimum wage to $9.75 from the current $7.50 per hour by 2018, as reported by the Bangor Daily News. The proposal was introduced by Councilor Joe Baldacci in July. Starting in 2019, the minimum wage would be raised based on increases in the consumer price index. Baldacci’s proposal applies to employers with more than four employees and only to employees over the age of 18.

Another proposal, brought forward by Councilor Josh Plourde, would postpone a wage increase until 2017. According to the Bangor Daily News, by that time, a statewide referendum vote could dictate whether Maine would increase the minimum wage statewide to $12 per hour by 2020. Some councilors consider Plourde’s proposal a failsafe measure if the statewide referendum does not pass, the article noted.

Not everyone on the Bangor council supports a city-wide wage increase. Councilor David Nealley contends that a citywide increase could be more damaging than beneficial to the city’s small businesses and that any wage increase should occur at the state level.

Councilors could propose changes and adjustments to either proposal before deciding whether to pass one of them on December 14, the Bangor Daily News noted.

Missouri:  State Rep Files Bill to Increase Hourly Minimum to $10.25

A Missouri state representative wants to increase the minimum wage, as reported by Rep. Brandon Ellington (D-Kansas City) submitted legislation on Tuesday, December 1, to increase the state minimum wage to $10.25 an hour from $7.65. The wage would go into effect January 2017.

“The single most important thing Missouri can do for low-income families is to boost the minimum wage,” Ellington told KOMU. “Workers in unskilled, minimum wage jobs are often overlooked, but they do jobs that need to be done. They deserve to earn enough to support themselves and their families.”

Tuesday was the first day legislators could file bills in advance of Missouri’s 2016 legislative session, which begins January 6.