Minimum Wage Earners In 7 States Getting Raises - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Minimum Wage Earners In 7 States Getting Raises

DENVER - It will be a happier New Year for nearly 650,000 workers earning minimum wage. They're getting small raises in seven states that tie their salaries to the cost of living.

The minimum wages in those states will go up between 9 cents and 12 cents an hour Saturday because their consumer price indexes rose in 2010.

The extra pennies can't come soon enough for Joe Martinez of Denver, who works odd jobs such as lawn maintenance for minimum wage. In Colorado, the wage is rising 11 cents, from the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour to $7.36 an hour.

"The prices of everything are going up — food, rent, electricity," Martinez, 55, said on his lunch break Wednesday. "I know it's not a lot of money, but any extra money will help, you know?"

[Related: Iconic face of 'Rosie the Riveter' dies]

Poverty advocates say the rising minimum wages shouldn't be seen as raises, just adjustments to keep the working poor at the same level as prices of goods rise.

The National Employment Law Project, a New York-based advocate for workers, estimates that about 647,000 people will see their paychecks go up in Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.

"It just ensures minimum wage keeps pace with the rising costs of necessities like milk and bread and gas," said Paul Sonn, legal co-director for NELP.

The NELP and other workers' advocates helped block a legal challenge to a minimum wage hike in Washington. That state will have 2011's highest statewide minimum wage at $8.67 an hour.

"These people are not putting this money into IRAs and savings accounts. It goes right back into the economy," said Rick S. Bender, president of the Washington State Labor Council, a union group that represents about 400,000 workers.

Ten states schedule their minimum wages to rise automatically when the cost of living rises, but the cost of living didn't rise enough in Florida, Nevada and Missouri to trigger a wage hike.

[Related: How to land unlisted jobs]

In Colorado, the minimum wage hike next year is especially welcome. Unlike most states, Colorado's adjustable wage can drop because of deflation. A year ago, it fell 3 cents an hour to the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour.

It was the first time a state's minimum wage has dropped since the federal minimum wage law was adopted in 1938, although many employers left wages unchanged rather than cut workers' pay.

"The last couple years have been brutal for everybody, for all workers, not just minimum-wage workers," said Rich Jones, director of policy and research at the Denver-based Bell Policy Center, a progressive research group. However, Jones said that even small upticks in the minimum wage can help keep poor people working.

"For the lowest-paid workers, at least they're still able to buy the same level of goods and services in the marketplace, so it is a help," Jones said.

Retail clerk Kimberly Bobian of Denver agreed. Bobian stopped by a corner grocery to pick up a can of tomato sauce and said it's hard to keep her pantry stocked on the federal minimum wage.

"It's going up 11 cents? That's a big deal, definitely," she said. "Food prices are going up, everything goes up, so any little bit helps."

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Violent Spokane drug trafficker gets 30 years in prison

    Violent Spokane drug trafficker gets 30 years in prison

    Wednesday, May 24 2017 12:00 AM EDT2017-05-24 04:00:27 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - A 32-year-old Spokane man was sentenced to 30 years in prison Tuesday, after he pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges, firearms offenses and threatening witnesses. The United States Attorney's Office reported Tuesday that Aren Lee Perryman, aka Filthy, pleaded guilty to Trafficking in Methamphetamine and Heroin; Possessing and Using Firearms in Connection with Drug Trafficking; and Intimidating and Threatening witnesses.

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - A 32-year-old Spokane man was sentenced to 30 years in prison Tuesday, after he pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges, firearms offenses and threatening witnesses. The United States Attorney's Office reported Tuesday that Aren Lee Perryman, aka Filthy, pleaded guilty to Trafficking in Methamphetamine and Heroin; Possessing and Using Firearms in Connection with Drug Trafficking; and Intimidating and Threatening witnesses.

    >>
  • Woman lost in Montana wilderness tells miraculous story of survival

    Woman lost in Montana wilderness tells miraculous story of survival

    Tuesday, May 23 2017 8:56 PM EDT2017-05-24 00:56:55 GMT

    By David Winter ABC Fox Montana/KTMF A Chicago woman visiting family in Montana captivated the nation for nearly a week as she was lost in the woods. Then miraculously, found alive and well with her dog, Mogie. Now Madeline Connelly, her family and members of the search crew are sharing their stories from Maddie's seven days alone in the woods.

    >>

    By David Winter ABC Fox Montana/KTMF A Chicago woman visiting family in Montana captivated the nation for nearly a week as she was lost in the woods. Then miraculously, found alive and well with her dog, Mogie. Now Madeline Connelly, her family and members of the search crew are sharing their stories from Maddie's seven days alone in the woods.

    >>
  • Man drowns in Moyie River running from Border Patrol agents

    Man drowns in Moyie River running from Border Patrol agents

    Tuesday, May 23 2017 11:36 PM EDT2017-05-24 03:36:48 GMT

    BOUNDARY COUNTY, Idaho - The Boundary County Sheriff's Office reports that deputies and emergency crews responded to Eastport to assist the United States Border Patrol on Monday. A man had reportedly gone into the Moyie River. He was unresponsive when he was pulled from the water by Border Patrol Agents.

    >>

    BOUNDARY COUNTY, Idaho - The Boundary County Sheriff's Office reports that deputies and emergency crews responded to Eastport to assist the United States Border Patrol on Monday. A man had reportedly gone into the Moyie River. He was unresponsive when he was pulled from the water by Border Patrol Agents.

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/