Ballot measures account for the majority of increases taking place in 2017, according to The Fairness Project.

By Jeanne Sahadi
December 19, 2016

Come the new year, millions of the lowest-wage workers across the country will get a raise.

Some of those raises will be very minor — a cost of living adjustment amounting to an extra nickel or dime an hour. But in several places the jump will be between $1 and $2 an hour.

Even that may not sound like a lot, but it can provide a full-time worker with another $40 to $80 a week. That money, in turn, can make it easier to pay for essential expenses, such as groceries, commuting and keeping the lights on.

All told, the minimum wage is set to rise in 21 states, at least 22 cities, four counties and one region. The majority of those increases will take place on Jan. 1, but in Maryland, Oregon and Washington, D.C., they go into effect in July. Meanwhile, the state of New York will be bumping up minimum pay on New Year’s Eve of this year.

The biggest minimum wage raises, percentage wise, will be in Arizona (up 24% to $10), Maine (up 20% to $9) and three Silicon Valley cities (up 20% to $12).

In the absence of action from Congress in terms of raising the federal minimum wage, which has remained at $7.25 since 2009, states and localities have taken matters into their own hands.

The increases were proposed by progressive politicians in state legislatures and on city councils. In instances where those measures failed, worker advocates would then petition to let voters decide directly. Such ballot measures have done remarkably well overall, accounting for the majority of increases taking place in 2017, according to The Fairness Project.

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