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Six States Boost Minimum Wage

Ballot initiatives raise the minimum wage in six states--Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, and Ohio.

In Arizona, 66 percent of voters approved Proposition 202, raising the minimum wage to $6.75 beginning January 1, 2007, requiring the minimum wage be adjusted for inflation annually.

In Colorado, about 53 percent of voters approved Amendment 42, which raises the minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to $6.85 per hour. The amendment also requires that the minimum wage be adjusted annually for inflation.

In Missouri, about 76 percent of voters approved Proposition B, which raises the minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to $6.50 per hour. The measure also requires that the minimum wage be adjusted annually for changes in the cost of living.

In Montana, 74 percent of voters approved Initiative 151, which raises the minimum from $5.15 per hour to $6.15 per hour and subjects the minimum wage to an annual cost-of-living adjustment. The minimum wage rate for employees of a business whose annual gross sales are $110,000 or less stays at $4 an hour. The new minimum wage is effective January 1, 2007.

In Nevada, about 69 percent of the state voted yes on Question 6, which establishes a higher minimum wage for employers who don't provide health benefits to employees. For employers that provide employees with health benefits, the minimum wage is $5.15 per hour. Under the measure, the minimum wage is $6.15 per hour worked if the employer does not provide health benefits. The ballot initiative also requires that the minimum wage to be adjusted annually for increases in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

In Ohio, about 56 percent of the state voted yes on Issue 2, which raises the minimum wage from $5.15 to $6.85. The minimum wage for employees under the age of sixteen and employees of businesses with annual gross receipts of $250,000 or less is the same as the federal minimum wage rate, which currently sits at $5.15 per hour. The ballot initiative also requires the state to adjust the minimum wage rate annually for changes in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers.

With the passing of the six ballot initiatives, more than half of states in the country now have a minimum wage that is higher than the federal minimum wage.

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