One of the most compelling reasons why there is so much momentum to increase the minimum wage is that it hasn’t been keeping up with the cost of living.
At both the state and federal levels, the minimum wage has lost much of its buying power, even as the cost of basic necessities like food, rent and gas have grown. If the federal minimum wage had the same buying power as in 1968, it would be substantially higher today – estimates range between $9.55 and $10.75 an hour, depending on how inflation is calculated.
The 2014 Legislative Session may only last a few months, but policymakers should make the most of that time with decisions that move Minnesota closer to a future where everyone has the opportunity to succeed and share in our state’s economic prosperity.
The state’s February 2014 Economic Forecast released today brought good news for Minnesota. The state projects a $1.2 billion positive balance for the current budget cycle, the FY 2014-15 biennium, which is $408 million higher than the November Forecast projected.
Minnesota joined Oregon and Hawaii as states that have advanced legislation this session to protect the rights of domestic workers, a sign of progress for efforts to protect workers who often earn less than the minimum wage and face exploitation and abuse:
Recent scandals in Atlanta and Washington, D.C. that revealed coordinated efforts by teachers and administrators to manipulate student test scores are shining an even brighter spotlight on the failure of standardized test-centric policies in the states. A backlash is brewing in many states as more and more parents and legislators alike start asking questions about corporate education "reform":
Taxes are on the minds of many this week as April 15th approaches. They're also on the minds of many conservative governors -- in states such as Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Nebraska -- who have seen their radical tax proposals to further enrich corporations and the wealthy run into major resistance from voters, businesses, and even conservative lawmakers. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who this week withdrew his regressive plan that would have eliminated the state income tax while raising the sales tax, has seen his standing drop sharply in the polls. In the run up to Tax Day, increasing attention is being focused on how tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations increase burdens on the middle class.