With the inequality gap continuing to rise, and Congress refusing to address the issue, citizens across the United States are stepping in to fill in the gaps.
This November, the minimum wage will appear on the ballot in five states.
In Arizona, the ballot initiative proposes to increase the state minimum wage to $12 by 2020. While there was initially a legal challenge, it will be on the ballot in November. According to the non-partisan Grand Canyon Institute, the ballot proposition would provide a raise to 790,000 Arizonans, two-thirds of whom are over the age of 24, and forty percent of whom are working single mothers.
Colorado is also attempting to raise their minimum wage via ballot initiative this year. Similar to Arizona’s initiative, it will raise the minimum wage in Colorado to $12 an hour by 2020. This will provide a much needed raise for Coloradans who have experienced an economic boom that has increased rents by thirty-seven percent over the past decade.
In Maine, local activists and community leaders have placed a measure on the ballot to raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020. It has been met with strong opposition by Maine’s outspoken governor, Paul LePage, who has called for organizers of the initiative to be charged with attempted murder because “They are deliberately and knowingly hurting Mainers.”
In Washington State, the home to the first $15 minimum wage, there is a ballot measure to increase the statewide minimum wage to $13.50 an hour. This bill will also include a measure to make sure that the minimum wage rises with the rate of inflation each year, with an estimated minimum wage of $14.23 in 2022.
Unlike the other four states with the minimum wage on the ballot, South Dakota is attempting to lower their minimum wage for people under the age of 18. In 2014, South Dakota voters passed an initiative to raise their minimum wage to $8.55 an hour for all workers and include annual increases. However, this measure would keep the $8.55 for workers over 18, while under 18 would be paid $7.50 an hour.