Proposed Increase to Alaska's Minimum Wage


by Victoria Taylor

ANCHROAGE - Three former state labor commissioners are promoting an increase in Alaska's minimum wage.
Ed Flanagan, Tom Cashen and Jim Sampson are behind a proposed initiative to raise the minimum wage from the current $7.75 an hour to $8.75 an hour effective Jan. 1, 2015. It would go to $9.75 an hour a year later and be adjusted for inflation annually after that.
In 2002, the Legislature pre-empted a proposed initiative that would have allowed for the minimum wage to be adjusted for inflation. A year after passing the bill, lawmakers stripped the inflation adjustment requirement.

The proposed increase has left some local business owners upset, "it stops people in my industry from hiring college students and single moms and people that we give jobs to everyday that can benefit because if it gets to a point where we're not making a profit and it's not worth it for us to be in business and we move to another state that perhaps offers a tip credit or we just go out of business," said Frank Dahl, Owner of Anchorage Bar and Restaurant, Blues Central.

The Legislature in 2009 passed a measure stating that, beginning in 2010, the minimum wage had to be at least 50 cents more than the federal minimum wage. That's where it stands currently.

Even with the proposed increase, one Anchorage resident doesn't feel it will be enough of a change to the state's base pay rate to account for the high cost of living in Alaska, " I think it's probably not enough. Anchorage is a very expensive place to live and people living on minimum wage can barely afford to raise a family or keep a house so I think they should do it by more," said Anchorage resident, Mark Faller.

Portions of this article were contributed by The Associated Press.

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Dan said on Thursday, May 9 at 11:18 AM

This is an inflationary move during a time where obama and his liberal minions have reduced incomes in the private sector, which sustains the huge weight of public sector already. I see no logic, or common sense in this move at this time.

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