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RELEASE: Across Nation, State Lawmakers Join Call for Raising Minimum Wage to Boost Economy

07/24/2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
CONTACT: Charles Monaco, Director of Communications and New Media, Progressive States Network, cmonaco@progressivestates.org

Across Nation, State Lawmakers Join Call for Raising Minimum Wage to Boost Economy

Four Years After Last Federal Increase, Leading National Group of State Legislators Stresses Positive Impact Raising Wage Would Have on Economy as Part of National Day of Action

New York, NY -- On the fourth anniversary of the last federal increase in the minimum wage, a leading national group of state legislators joined other elected officials across the nation in calling for an increase in the minimum wage at both the state and federal levels, stressing the positive impact that raising the wage would have across the entire economy.

The announcements came as part of a national day of action on the need to raise wage, as lawmakers emphasized - both at events and on social media - how allowing all Americans who work for a living to be able to support their families' basic needs would benefit the economy as a whole.

"Raising the minimum wage is popular, helps working families, creates jobs, and boosts communities and the entire economy," said State Senator Jeremy Nordquist (Nebraska), Chair of the Economic Security Working Group, a national group of state lawmakers dedicated to advancing and defending workplace-based policies to build economic security and strengthen the middle class. "With the federal minimum wage having fallen far behind the pace of inflation, and with all workers making minimum wage today make less than they did in 1968 when adjusted for inflation, it will continue to be up to the states to act if Congress will not."

Some state lawmakers took part in actions to highlight the need to raise the wage, including committing to living on a minimum wage budget themselves.

“To fill up my gas tank costs about $60. You can do the math from there," stated State Senator Dwight Bullard (Florida), who lived on a budget of $52.67 for a week. "That $52 was all I had for food, and travel. It was extremely challenging. There are incredibly hard working people in my district who give their all and get so little. It’s important that people like me and other lawmakers across the state do what’s right for the well being of all we serve by increasing the minimum wage."

Other lawmakers held public events and hearings to focus attention on the plight of low-wage workers and the urgent need to boost wages.

"Unfortunately, many workers across the state aren’t seeing the personal economic improvement that should go along with our recovering economy," said State Representative Ryan Winkler (Minnesota), Chair of the Select Committee on Living Wage Jobs which planned to hold two public hearings throughout the state Wednesday. "We want to hear from Minnesota workers and their families about their jobs - the pros, the cons and what we can do to make hard work pay for every Minnesotan."

Recent polling has shown broad, bipartisan support for raising the minimum wage to $10 or more. A national poll released today shows 80% of Americans - including strong majorities across demographic categories and party lines - supporting an increase in the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour and indexing for inflation in the future.

Last November, voters in communities in New Mexico and California approved ballot measures to increase the minimum wage in their cities by significant margins. Voters in New Jersey will decide on a ballot initiative to raise the wage this fall. In 2013 legislative sessions, state legislators continued to introduce and advance measures to raise the minimum wage in the absence of action by Congress. Nineteen states, as well as Washington, D.C., currently have minimum wages above the federal rate of $7.25.

For more information, infographics, and updates from PSN on the day of action, visit http://bit.ly/RaiseMinWage and follow the hashtag #RaiseTheWage on Twitter.

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Progressive States Network is a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to engaging and building the capacity of state and national leaders to advance public policy solutions that uphold America’s promise to be a just and equitable democracy. For more information visit progressivestates.org.

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