Obama minimum wage plan renews economic debate

Obama minimum wage plan leaves worker advocates cheering, business leaders uneasy

Associated Press
Obama minimum wage plan renews economic debate
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Chart shows states with minimum wages higher than the Federal wage …

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama says increasing the minimum wage to $9 an hour and tying future increases to inflation will raise the incomes of millions living in poverty and spur job growth.

Business groups are not so sure. They complain that boosting the federal rate from $7.25 an hour would discourage employers from hiring new workers, hurting the very people Obama aims to help.

In all, 19 states and the District of Columbia have minimum wages set above the federal rate of $7.25. Obama highlighted that disparity in his State of the Union address on Tuesday night.

Ten of those states make annual cost-of-living adjustments, including Washington state, where workers earn at least $9.19 an hour. That's the highest minimum wage in the country.

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