Great News For Millions of American Workers to Start Off the New Year

While Congress failed to act this year in raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, many voters took matters into their own hands via ballot initiatives or through state legislatures to give low-income workers a much needed boost for 2015. And now, starting January 1st, 20 states have raised their minimum wages. 

Residents of Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, and Washington have automatic hikes after tying their minimum wage to the cost of inflation. Those increases range from $0.12 in Florida to $0.23 in Colorado. In the other 11 states as well as the District of Columbia, the raise is directly because of voter-driven initiatives or other legislative action by the state governments. Alaska, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Rhode Island, and South Dakota will all see an increase of at least $1.00, with South Dakota seeing a $1.25 jump in minimum pay.

Twenty-nine states now have minimum wages above the federal minimum.

Washington state will have the highest minimum wage of the group after the raise, as 176,000 workers will see their pay go up to $9.47 next year, while Washington, DC's $9.50 wage will be the highest in the country in 2015. 

According to a report by the Economic Policy Institute, this will result in an additional $1.6 billion in additional wages flowing to workers over the course of the year. A 2013 study from EPI also found that a $2.85 increase in the federal minimum wage would "either directly or indirectly raise the wages of 27.8 million workers, who would receive about $35 billion in additional wages over the phase-in period." 

Opponents of the minimum wage argue that while in theory it sounds nice, it hurts the very people you're trying to help by cannibalizing jobs. Yet the job killer argument is suspect-- at best. Look at the data:

Watch this video to learn more: