Minimum wage increase

Eric Bennett

Sun Star Copy Editor

03/09/2015

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The minimum wage bill was voted on during the November 4 election last fall. During this election, the other two ballot measures were also passed.

On Feb. 24, the minimum wage in Alaska was increased from $7.75 per hour to $8.75. Ballot Measure 3 was approved on Nov. 4, 2014 with 194,654 yes votes and 86,040 no votes. It stated that the minimum wage would be increased to $8.75 on Jan. 1,  but it was delayed to Feb. 24 because Alaska state laws state that ballot initiatives cannot go into effect until 90 days after an election is certified. On Jan. 1, 2016, the minimum wage will increase once more to $9.75. After the increase in 2016, the minimum wage is planned to be adjusted based on on inflation or to remain $1 higher than the federal minimum wage, whichever amount is greater.

Alaska is the first state to have a minimum wage that is higher than that set at the federal level. The last time the minimum wage was increased was in 2009 when it changed from $7.15 to $7.25 due to the federal minimum wage increasing. At the time, Alaska legislature had voted that Alaska’s minimum wage should be $.50 above the federal minimum wage.

In 2002, legislature raised the minimum wage from $5.65 to $7.15, which also included a provision that made all future increases account for annual cost-of-living adjustment, but was repealed in 2003. If the provision hadn’t been removed, Alaska’s minimum wage would have been $9.53 in 2014.

Approximately 28,000 jobs in Alaska paid $9.75 or less.

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1 Response

  1. Danny Fisher says:

    28,000/over 300,000 jobs paid less than $2 above minimum wage, and yet we increased minimum wage.

    It’s the people who just need a few extra bucks instead of a living who get hurt. High schoolers who don’t need to make more than $8/hr at a small local business outside the big city are going to be affected by this in job LOSS; not most breadwinners by an increase in wage.

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