At $9.19 per hour, Washington state has the best minimum wage in the nation – and far better than the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour. Our state minimum wage is tied to inflation, increasing a little bit nearly every year. In January 2013, the minimum wage wage increased 15 cents – mostly driven by higher gas prices. That small increase boosted the paychecks more than 150,000 Washington workers, giving a small bump to those earning the least.
Now, the other Washington is talking (again) about increasing the federal minimum wage, which has been stuck at $7.25 per hour for four years. President Obama laid out a proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $9.00 per hour in his State of the Union address, and recent polling shows more than 2 in 3 Americans (71%) support the increase.
The Pew Research Center/USA Today poll shows 71% of Americans support raising the minimum wage to $9.00 per hour, with strong support among Democrats and Independents. Republicans were split, with half favoring the increase.
Raising the federal minimum wage would restore it to it’s inflation-adjusted value in the late 1960s and for periods in the 1970s.