Minimum wage increases will take effect in 14 states in 2014, yet President Barack Obama’s nation-wide goal of $9 per hour, up from the current federal minimum of $7.25
, will be reached in just three states.
Leading the way with the highest minimum wage increase is Washington, which will require $9.32 per hour, while Oregon is second at $9.10 and California third at $9 per hour, the Christian Science Monitor reported
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The 11 other states that will be raising their hourly minimum wages in 2014 include Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Of those states, the high end of the spectrum will be Vermont, where the minimum hourly rate for a worker will be $8.37, and the low end will be in Missouri at $7.50 an hour.
The minimum wage debate comes at a time when the Democratic platform for the 2014 Congressional elections is taking shape and will likely incorporate the topic of income inequality, which has been highlighted recently by the flurry of sporadic strikes by fast food employees across the country
In his State of the Union address in February, Obama called on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage, saying "Even with the tax relief we’ve put in place, a family with two kids that earns the minimum wage still lives below the poverty line. That’s wrong."
In a Gallup poll taken in November, the vast majority of Americans favor a $9 an hour minimum wage
with 76 percent of those polled agreeing with the increase. In contrast, just 22 percent were opposed a $9 federal minimum wage.
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Another Gallup survey in October found that small business owners appeared not to agree with the general public’s willingness for such a minimum wage increase. In the survey, just 47 percent supported a minimum wage increase to $9.50, the figure provided by the pollsters, while 50 percent opposed it, the Christian Science Monitor reported.
The division also appears to be largely along party lines as reflected by the GOP-dominated House last March to vote down a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 by 2015, with all Republican lawmakers voting against it.
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