The Leaflet – States and Cities Consider Minimum Wage Changes

Published September 18, 2015

States and Cities Consider Minimum Wage Changes

Earlier this summer, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) vetoed a bill that would disallow local municipalities from increasing the minimum wage above the $7.65 per hour statewide rate. On Wednesday, the Missouri State Senate voted to override Nixon’s veto. Similar battles over the minimum wage are taking place in many other states and localities across the country.

According to the United States Department of Labor’s website, 21 states have a state minimum wage at or below the federal minimum wage. Five of those states – Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee – have no state minimum wage law.

Since 2014, more than a dozen major cities – including Chicago, Illinois; Los Angeles, California; Louisville, Kentucky; Santa Fe, New Mexico; and Seattle, Washington – have increased their local minimum wage above the state’s minimum wage, according to a fact sheet from the National Employment Law Project. Conversely, 16 states have laws forbidding municipalities from raising the minimum wage, arguing for consistency across the state.

Writing for Forbes, James A. Dorn of the Cato Institute argues the minimum wage does not help the poor: “The belief that increasing the minimum wage is socially beneficial is a delusion. It is short-sighted and ignores evident reality. Workers who retain their jobs are made better off, but only at the expense of unskilled, mostly young workers who either lose their jobs or can’t find a job at the legal minimum.”

Research & Commentary: Gas Tax Hikes Are Not the Answer for Arkansas’ Roads
In August, a coalition of construction and contracting companies wrote a letter to the Arkansas Working Group on Highway Funding calling for a 10-cent increase in the state’s motor fuel tax for the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department. The proposed tax hike would raise an estimated $138 million, but not all of these funds would be used on state roads. The Highway Department would receive only $87.6 million of the new dollars. The remaining 36.5 percent would be divided between county roads, city roads, and administrative costs.

In this Research & Commentary, Senior Policy Analyst Matthew Glans argues Arkansas’ gas tax is already high compared to neighboring states and increasing the tax would make the price of gas in Arkansas less competitive. The tax would fall most heavily on lower- and moderate-income Arkansans. Read more

Budget and Tax

Research & Commentary: Minimum Wage Reform in Missouri
In this Research & Commentary, Senior Policy Analyst Matthew Glans explains, “Minimum wage hikes are not an effective method of reducing poverty. They harm workers by creating barriers to entry for less-skilled and less-educated people. Increasing a city’s minimum wage will cause more people to lose their jobs and make the city less competitive.” Many of Missouri’s largest cities are located near neighboring states, which means the higher mandated wages Missouri businesses would have to face would create stiff competition from bordering towns and cities in Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, and Nebraska, where minimum wage laws may create a stronger business climate. Read more

Heartland Daily Podcast – Heather Kays: Troubling Education News from Washington State
In this edition of the Heartland Daily Podcast, Director of Communications Jim Lakely speaks with Heather Kays, managing editor of School Reform News, about three troubling education stories coming out of the state of Washington: the Washington Supreme Court ruling on charter schools, the Seattle teachers strike, and how the state is being fined for “chronic underfunding” of the education system. Tune in here

Energy and Environment
States Are Right to Pressure EPA with ‘Nullification’ Efforts
In a recent op-ed published in Townhall Magazine, Kyle Maichle, project manager for The Heartland Institute’s Center for Constitutional Reform, discusses the lawsuit filed by 16 state attorneys general against the Environmental Protection Agency over President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan. The lawsuit was filed Utility executives in those states would be left with just two options if EPA’s plan goes forward: either close down power plants or adopt expensive technologies such as carbon capture. Research conducted by the Beacon Hill Institute demonstrates the likely impact of EPA’s mandates: Louisiana citizens, for example, would see a 22 percent increase in their energy bills over 15 years, would experience a $181 million loss in capital investment, and would lose more than 20,995 jobs. The citizens of other states would suffer similar pain. . Read more

Health Care
‘Jiffy’ Health Clinics Save Patients Money and Time, Undermine Obamacare
In this Heartlander article, Justin Haskins, editor for The Heartland Institute. examines “jiffy” health care clinics, which represent one of the fastest-growing sectors of the health care industry, providing quick, convenient, and affordable primary care services without the long waits and higher costs of traditional family practices.

Haskins also discusses how the rise of jiffy clinics relates to the much-maligned Obamacare health care law. “Far more people than previously expected have enrolled in Medicaid rather than purchase subsidized Obamacare health insurance policies; family practitioners are turning away Medicaid patients in droves; and a growing number of Americans are heading to emergency rooms for care. All of this indicates the expected infusion of cash into the primary care marketplace has not occurred,” he writes. Read more

From Our Free-Market Friends
Taxpayers Protection Alliance Releases New Report on NFL Stadium Financing
A recent report from the Taxpayers Protection Alliance examines the economic impact of taxpayer-financed NFL stadiums on the people who pay the taxes that fund the construction of those stadiums. Michi Iljazi, communications and policy manager for the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, writes, “Since 1995, a staggering 29 of the 31 stadiums that house NFL teams received public subsidies for construction, renovation or both. Over the last twenty years, taxpayers have been forced to spend nearly $7 billion subsidizing NFL stadium construction and renovation projects.” Read more




The September issue of School Reform News reports the North Carolina Supreme Court found the state’s Opportunity Scholarship Program to be constitutional. Dick Komer, senior attorney for the Institute for justice, noted “The decision is important for all of the schoolchildren in North Carolina, because by allowing low-income families to attend private schools, the public schools will be forced to take those low-income students’ needs more seriously.”

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