States across the U.S. are ringing in the New Year with state and local minimum wage hikes

There are 42 state and local minimum wage increases set to hit Dec. 31 and Jan. 1. For some, the increases are raising more concerns than funds.

The Employment Policies Institute (EPI) on its website Faces of $15 has highlighted some potential consequences of the hike, including lost jobs, reduced hours for workers, and business closures, especially for small businesses and employees in New York and California.

The EPI recently released five mini-documentaries featuring the stories of businesses and employees negatively impacted by starter wage increases. These include a New York diner that closed after 40 years in business, a childcare provider in Oakland who had to lay off longtime employees, a Sacramento bookstore closed after 20 years, an apparel company leaving California, and a top-100 San Francisco restaurant forced to close.

“Labor unions and their activist allies may be popping the champagne on New Year’s to celebrate minimum wage increases, but businesses and their employees are the ones that will feel the hangover effects of business closures, lost jobs, and reduced hours,” Michael Saltsman, research director at EPI, said in a press release.

Nineteen states are raising their starter wages, with Arizona (24 percent increase), Maine (20 percent), and Washington state (16 percent) having the largest increases. Twenty-three localities, including 12 cities in California, also are ringing in the New Year with starter wage hikes.

In New York, starter wage increases are dependent on business size, location, and type, so small businesses and employees will be facing 14 different government-mandated wage rates beginning December 31.

In Washington, the statewide minimum wage will increase 16 percent from $9.47 to $11.00. At the same time, Seattle’s minimum wage will increase 15 percent from $13 to $15, SeaTac’s will increase 1 percent from $15.24 to $15.35, and Tacoma’s will increase 8 percent from $10.35 to $11.15.

Another state that will see a significant hike in wages is California. Within the state, 12 different cities are increasing their minimum wages on New Year’s Day, in addition to the state-level increase. Cupertino, Los Altos, and San Mateo are all raising their starter wages by 20 percent to $12 an hour, while Mountain View and Sunnyvale are both raising their starter wages by 18 percent to $13 an hour.

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