Good prospects for minimum wage increase | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Good prospects for minimum wage increase

Posted By on Thu, Oct 11, 2018 at 9:50 AM

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American Prospect has a generally optimistic view on a ballot measure to increase the minimum wage in Arkansas, if the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce can't talk the Arkansas Supreme Court into throwing it off the ballot.

Less favorable is the outlook for minimum wage voters to also support candidates who  favor the increase over those who don't — such as pro-wage-increase Democrat Clarke Tucker, who's opposing minimum wage for Rep. French Hill, the Republican incumbent.

In 2014, when the minimum was last approved by voters, there wasn't much voter spillover in other races. STill, a pay increase would be its own reward.

If voters again vote for an initiative that enjoys broad support while at the same time voting against the party that uniformly supports the measure, it might just be a sign of how tribal partisanship has become. Voters elect their representatives without regard for, or even despite, where they stand on some issues.

For Kristen Foster of Arkansans for a Fair Wage, the local group coordinating with the Fairness Project, supporting a minimum-wage initiative is a way to do an end-run around the partisanship that would normally kill such a proposal if it came before the legislature. Arkansas is a poor state, and 300,000 residents would instantly make more money if the minimum wage were raised, she says. “I think we so often get caught up in the rhetoric in this issue and forget about the people,” she says. “Teacher’s aides and custodians and home health-care workers: All different walks of life, who will positively impacted by this. It’s about remembering who this is about. It’s about Arkansas workers.”

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