5 States Where the Poorest Get Paid the Most

Democrats want to raise the federal minimum wage, a measure that would affect some states more than others

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A Democratic proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 from $7.25 continues to make controversy in Washington as Democrats and Republicans fight over whether the policy would be good for the economy. Liberals say the minimum wage raise is the most immediate and best way to lift people out of poverty. Conservatives say the raise would cause businesses to eliminate jobs for low skilled workers, the very group the raise is designed to help.

A story about the food and beverage industry’s PR guru, Richard Berman, who is hell-bent on combatting the proposal, ran in this week’s issue of the magazine. Read it here.

For some states, the federal raise will have more of an impact than it does for others. States set their own minimum wages. Some accept the federal government’s bare minimum. But some already pay more than the federal minimum requires.¬†¬†California, Washington, Oregon, Montana, and Alaska all have set a bottom wage higher than the federal minimum. Of those states, Washington’s is the highest at $9.32. As a result, unsurprisingly, these states have the lowest percentage of workers making the federal minimum wage. Less than two percent of hourly workers in these states make the federal minimum wage or less.

By contrast, the states with the highest proportion of workers making the federal minimum wage or less are Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, and Idaho, where between seven and eight percent of workers make at or below $7.25.