Study calls for increase in minimum wage - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Study calls for increase in minimum wage

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The Economic Policy Institute is releasing information from their study, which says increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.80 per hour would create 1,800 net new jobs in Alabama and give nearly half a million Alabamians a raise.  EPI is a nonprofit policy research organization based in Washington, D.C. The organization says a wage increase would boost economic growth and help millions of low-income workers still struggling in the recession's aftermath, the study finds.

The EPI report analyzes the effects of federal legislation proposed by U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and U.S. Rep. George Miller, D-Calif. The measures would increase the minimum wage in three 85-cent increments until it reached $9.80 per hour in July 2014. The bills also would increase the tipped minimum wage for restaurant servers and other workers, which has been $2.13 per hour since 1996, in 85-cent increments until it reached 70 percent of the regular minimum wage. The amounts then would be indexed to inflation.

More than 28 million Americans would receive a total of almost $40 billion in higher wages if the increase becomes law, the report estimates. In Alabama, more than 492,000 people would see $741 million in additional wages. The average annual wage increase would be $660. The increases would go both to workers making minimum wage and to people with wages between the current minimum wage and the proposed new level.  The study suggests a higher minimum wage would benefit workers across all demographic groups, not just teenagers working part-time summer jobs. 

The full EPI report, "How Raising the Federal Minimum Wage Would Help Working Families and Give the Economy a Boost," is available by clicking here.