Push to Increase Arkansas’ Minimum Wage

Politics

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (News release) — Supporters of the push to boost Arkansas’ minimum wage in November kicked off their campaign today. 

Arkansans for a Fair Wage campaign is in support of Issue 5, a measure on the ballot this November that would gradually increase the state’s minimum wage to $11.00 an hour by 2021.

If passed, the measure would mean a raise for 300,000 Arkansans, or 1 in 4 workers in the state, according to a news release from Arkansans for a Fair Wage. 

“Low wages is one of the most pressing issues for Arkansas families and our economy,” said William El-Amin, Eudora Police Chief and Leader with the Arkansas Public Policy Panel. “The economic well-being of many at the top continues to improve, but the rising cost of basics is leaving too many Arkansans – from teacher aides to home health workers – unable to make ends meet and support their families.”

Right now, Arkansas’s minimum wage is just $8.50 an hour, and minimum wage earners working 40 hours a week in Arkansas make just $18,000 a year. Issue 5 would gradually increase the minimum wage from $8.50 to $9.25 in 2019, $10.00 in 2020, and $11.00 in 2021, raising annual wages for these workers by nearly $5,000 each year.

“Only one other state had lower personal income growth than Arkansas between 2017 and 2018,” said Bruno Showers, Senior Policy Analyst, Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families. “This measure would put a cumulative $455 million back in the pockets of hard-working, low-wage Arkansans who need a raise.”

According to a report by AACF, 60 percent of impacted individuals are women, and nearly as many work full-time. Should the measure pass, over 155,000 children will have a parent who will directly or indirectly benefit from the wage increase.

“I’ve seen firsthand how paying fair wages is good for business,” said Capi Peck, owner of Trio’s Restaurant in Little Rock. “It’s why I support raising Arkansas’ minimum wage. I’m proud of how long many of our employees have been with us — some for more than 20 years –because we pay them fair wages and treat them right. That low turnover is invaluable from a bottom-line and customer service perspective. Increasing the minimum wage will give needed raises to workers who will then have more to spend as customers. Our businesses, our communities and our economy will benefit.”

For more information about the campaign, visit www.arkansansforafairwage.com.

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