Wages:

Most ad­just pay to cover in­creases in cost of liv­ing.

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - Byjim Malewitz State­line.org WAGE HIKES

Nearly 1 mil­lion U.S. work­ers will be get­ting a New Year’s Day gift: a small raise af­ter 10 states boost their min­i­mum wages.

WASHINGTON — Nearly 1 mil­lion U.S. work­ers will be get­ting a New Year’s Day gift: a small raise af­ter 10 states boost their min­i­mum wages.

Nine states will ad­just the wages to ac­com­mo­date the costs of liv­ing, as re­quired by state laws, while Rhode Is­land will im­ple­ment a law signed by the gov­er­nor that raises its min­i­mum wage to $7.75 per hour. The wage hikes range be­tween 10 cents and 35 cents per hour, adding be­tween $190 and $510 to the av­er­age af­fected worker’s an­nual pay.

With those changes, 19 states and the District of Columbia will have min­i­mum wages above the fed­eral level of $7.25. That rate has been in place since 2009 and has not been ad­justed for in­fla­tion.

The Na­tional Em­ploy­ment Law Project, an ad­vo­cate for work­ers’ rights, is among sev­eral groups call­ing for law­mak­ers to boost the fed­eral rate.

U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, in­tro­duced a bill last July that would raise States rais­ing their min­i­mum wages Jan. 1 and the new hourly amounts. Ari­zona Colorado Florida Mis­souri Mon­tana Ohio Ore­gon Rhode Is­land Ver­mont Washington $7.80 $7.78 $7.79 $7.35 $7.80 $7.85 $8.95

$7.75 $8.60 $9.19 the min­i­mum wage to $9.80 by 2014 and ad­just it each year. But the leg­is­la­tion has lit­tle chance to pass in a di­vided Congress.

Mean­while, New Jersey’s Demo­cratic-con­trolled leg­is­la­ture passed a bill early this month that would raise wages, cur­rently at the fed­eral min­i­mum, by a dol­lar. Gov. Chris Christie, a Repub­li­can, will likely veto the mea­sure, say­ing it would bur­den busi­nesses still re­cov­er­ing from Su­per­storm Sandy.

A bat­tle is also brew­ing in Cal­i­for­nia, where the state’s $8-per-hour min­i­mum wage has re­mained the same for five years.

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