A dozen states now have minimum wage laws requiring pay be $9 per hour or higher, after Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee signed a bill Thursday to increase the state's previous minimum by $1.
Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee greets President Barack Obama on the tarmac upon his arrival on Air Force One at Bradley Air National Guard Base in East Granby, Conn., Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Obama traveled to Hartford, Conn., area to highlight the importance of raising the minimum wage and then will travel to Boston for a pair of Democratic fundraising. Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin is at right. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
This falls short of President Barack Obama's call for $10.10 per hour, but he could and has taken credit for more states adopting a higher minimum wage as part of his “pen and phone” agenda. Though it had nothing to do with executive action, Obama has said since the 2014 State of the Union that he would lean on governors, mayors and employers to increase wages if Congress won't up the federal minimum wage.
He talked about it again last week in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
“I told CEOs and governors and mayors and state legislatures, for example, they don’t have to wait for Congress to raise the minimum wage. Go ahead and raise your workers’ wages right now," Obama said.
Just this year, 10 states and the District of Columbia increased their minimum wage, but only 12 states will have a minimum wage of $9 or more by 2018, according to the Washington Post. That's significant because only three states currently have a minimum wage at or above $9.
Washington state has the highest at $9.32, followed by Oregon’s minimum wage at $9.10. California’s rose to $9 this week.
Rhode Island's wage increase is the third in three years. It rose from $7.40 to $7.75 on Jan. 1, 2013, and to $8 on Jan. 1, 2014. This latest increase takes effect Jan. 1, 2015, according to the Providence Journal. Neighboring New England states Connecticut and Vermont hiked the wage to $9.15, while Massachusetts increased to $9, but it is set to go to $11 per hour by 2017.
New Hampshire, thought to be an island of small government in the sea of liberal New England states, repealed its state minimum wage in 2011 but is still bound by the federal way.
In some the states, the wages increase incrementally, while in others, it goes up right away. The states with $9 or more by 2018 are California ($9 now and $10 by 2016); Connecticut ($9.15 by 2015); Hawaii ($9.25 by 2017); Maryland ($9.25 by 2017); Massachusetts ($9 by 2015, $11 by 2017); Michigan ($9.25 by 2018); Minnesota ($9.50 by 2016); New York ($9.50 by the end of 2015); Oregon ($9.10 now); Rhode Island ($9 in 2015); Vermont ($9.15 by 2015, reaching $10.50 by 2018) and Washington state ($9.32 now).
(H/T: The Washington Post)