There are many reasons for the growing interest in raising minimum wages and establishing living wages across the nation. Rising income inequality, slow wage growth and a desire to bolster consumer spending are among the most prominent considerations.
However, the interest in raising the minimum wage is nothing new. Since the mid-1980s, states in every region of the country have raised the local minimum wage, often numerous times according to the New York Times. Twenty one states and the District of Columbia presently have wage floors above the federal level of 7 dollars and 25 cents and 22 of these raise them every year to account for inflation. At 9 dollars and 32 cents, Washington State presently has the highest.
A number of other states, including Maryland and California, are positioned for significant minimum wage increases during the years ahead. More than 120 cities and counties have adopted living wage laws that set pay standards, many of them in the 12 to 15 dollar range. These higher standards typically apply only to employees of city service contractors, however, like security guards and landscapers.