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Ross says he backs Arkansas minimum wage increase

By The Associated Press

This article was published April 5, 2014 at 11:07 a.m.

— Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Mike Ross on Friday said he supports a proposal to gradually raise the Arkansas minimum wage to $8.50 an hour by 2017.

The state minimum now is $6.25 per hour, making it one of just four states with a minimum wage lower than the federal level of $7.25 per hour.

Ross became the second high-profile Democrat in the state to back the group Give Arkansas A Raise Now, which wants to put the proposal on the statewide ballot. The group must submit 62,507 signatures from registered voters by July 7 to get the proposal on the November ballot.

"Working Arkansans deserve a living wage to provide for their families, which is why I support the ballot initiative to raise the state's minimum wage in a gradual, fair and responsible way," Ross said in a statement provided to The Associated Press.

Earlier this year, Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor announced he was backing the group's proposal. Pryor has called the Arkansas proposal preferable to $10.10 federal minimum wage measure before the U.S. Senate, and backed by President Barack Obama, which Pryor opposes. Pryor is being challenged by Republican Rep. Tom Cotton. A spokesman for Cotton's campaign said Cotton also opposes the federal increase but was studying the Arkansas proposal.

The proposed ballot measure would raise the state's minimum wage to $7.50 per hour on Jan. 1, 2015; to $8 per hour on Jan. 1, 2016, and to $8.50 per hour on Jan. 1, 2017.

Former congressman Asa Hutchinson is the leading candidate for the Republican nomination for governor. Ross and Hutchinson have focused primarily on each other in the race for the state's top office and not lesser-known, underfunded rivals in their respective primaries. Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe is term-limited and unable to run for re-election in November.

Hutchinson has said he would prefer to see the minimum wage raised by the state Legislature, not by ballot measure.

"I support increasing the minimum wage. However, I prefer that this issue be considered by the General Assembly rather than by ballot initiative," Hutchinson said in statement provided by his campaign.


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RestoftheStory says... April 5, 2014 at 12:42 p.m.

An increase in the Minimum Wage will only increase prices because business owners will simply increase the price tag. That will not help anything, but it will increase inflation. We need more than pocket change in this country. We need to stop sending jobs to other countries, and we need employers who reward loyalty. We need more highly trained people who are able to find higher paying jobs that would not be affected by minimum wage requirements. Unfortunately, some people will vote for a politician promoting nonsense.

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aimee says... April 5, 2014 at 1:08 p.m.

Historically, raising the minimum wage has NEVER caused an increase in prices anymore than prices going up WITHOUT raising wages.. This is just more Republican drivel designed to scare voters..!!!! Shaving profit margins and higher productivity are more traditional ways to "pay for" a wage increase..!!!

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DRMGATSBY says... April 5, 2014 at 1:53 p.m.

Spoken like a true Liberal... Do we really have to elevate everyone to a certain standard of living? He is for this BECAUSE he is after all the Y-generation, and Millennial generation votes. Evidently they outnumber the working class in Arkansas. Here is a guy who reacts to votes, and not proactive to principal.

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DRMGATSBY says... April 5, 2014 at 1:56 p.m.

Aimee... drivel? The Republican drivel, as you call it, sure beats the Liberal psychobabble on most topics.

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nwar says... April 5, 2014 at 2:09 p.m.

Ross's proposal makes a lot of sense -- a gradual increase is not going to cost jobs. But it sure will help get people off government assistance. I thought you conservatives wanted people to work full time and make at least a halfway decent living. The current minimum wage in AR doesn't buy any where near what it could 20 years ago. So in a way, it is not an increase at all -- just an indexing to make it cover what it used to.

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DontDrinkDatKoolAid says... April 5, 2014 at 3:14 p.m.

Net gain? One may go into a higher tax bracket, consumer price index goes up, .. Unions establishes a new base line for wages (which will also increase the consumer price index), new base line for poverty. All this to buy votes. Not really a good deal if one really knew anything.

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FreeSpiritMan says... April 5, 2014 at 3:45 p.m.

dddka ..... you are sure no one to talk about knowing any thing, all blather and spin with no facts or sources to back up your spin.

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DontDrinkDatKoolAid says... April 5, 2014 at 4 p.m.

Sooo BS where is this money gonna come from to pay for that Min. Wage increase?

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Packman says... April 5, 2014 at 5:24 p.m.

Ross tipped his liberal hand with talk of a "living wage". There is no such thing as a "living wage". People determine their own standard of living. A. "living wage" can only be determined by individual desire. The term was developed for members of the UIA (Useful Idiots of America). Raising the minimum wage will have a domino effect that will most certainly cause people to lose their job and lead to artificial price increases in the cost of various goods and services. It's a perfect recpie for runaway inflation.

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FreeSpiritMan says... April 5, 2014 at 6:15 p.m.

dddka .......
From the millionaire that owns 10 McDonald's franchises, just like it did when the minimum wage was raised the last time. True, he may raise the price of a Big Mac, just depends on how greedy he is. Remember, he will get his tax cut under the Ryan budget, and the people making minimum wage will spend their increase thereby boosting the economy. The owner will just invest his tax savings in another investment. How hard is this to figure out for you right wingers?

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