Tomorrow, Wisconsin will become the latest state to raise the minimum wage above the federal level of $5.15. Workers in the Badger State will be able to count on at least $5.70 in base pay starting Wednesday, July 1. Next year, the state minimum wage will jump another 90 cents.
Currently, the highest minimum wage is maintained by Washington State ($7.35/hour) although Connecticut is poised to move ahead starting next year ($7.40/hour). State lawmakers say they need to raise the minimum wage locally because the federal government has kept the national standard the same for eight years, despite an increase in the cost of living over that period. Critics of higher state minimum wages complain that the laws confer economic advantage on businesses in some communities over nearby rivals depending solely on what side of a state boundary the businesses are on. Among New England's six states for example, only one state sets its minimum equal to the feds, and only two states maintain the same elevated minimum wage.
What do you think? Are you in one of the 17 states that has a higher minimum wage? Do you think that puts you at a disadvantage over other businesses? And how many companies even have workers earning the minimum wage? As the so-called talent wars heat up again, CEOs may find (as was the case in the 90s) that the minimum wage they need to pay to get workers is a lot higher than the sum the legislature's have helpfully provided.