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Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick smiles in the Boston Red Sox dugout before MLB American League baseball action between the Red Sox and the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts April 20, 2013. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick
Seattle and the District of Columbia are going higher, but Massachusetts is taking its minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2017, higher than any other state:
"Raising the minimum wage brings a little relief to the working poor, many of whom do jobs we could not live without and who recycle money right back into the economy," Patrick said in a statement announcing the signing.

The law will raise the state's minimum wage in stages from its current level of $8 per hour and follows similar moves by neighboring Connecticut and Vermont.

The first minimum wage increase in Massachusetts since 2008 is expected to benefit some 500,000 workers statewide, said state Representative Thomas Conroy, who is a Democrat like Patrick.

As is the case with several of the recent state minimum wage increases, the Massachusetts raise, while significant, has some gaps. After the minimum wage reaches $11 in 2017, it will not be indexed to inflation, meaning workers will still have to wait for specific legislative action to see raises, rather than seeing their pay go up gradually with the cost of living. Additionally, while the Commonwealth's tipped workers will get their first raise since 1999, the tipped worker minimum wage will only go to $3.75 per hour, from its current level of $2.63. That's a 31 percent increase from horrifying to merely outrageous.

Still, a raise for hundreds of thousands of people is something to celebrate.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 10:15 AM PDT.

Also republished by Massachusetts Kosmopolitans and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I would tip and rec for the title alone ;-) (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coral, Cedwyn, marykk, Penny GC

    But good news like this goes to 11 as well.

    Inside of me are two dogs. One is mean and evil. The other is gentle and good. The two dogs fight all the time. Which dog wins? The one I feed the most.

    by bakeneko on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 10:59:43 AM PDT

  •  a welcome improvement (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coral, bakeneko, Penny GC, ditsylilg

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "If we appear to seek the unattainable, then let it be known that we do so to avoid the unimaginable." (@eState4Column5)

    by annieli on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 11:27:21 AM PDT

  •  Congress Isn't Worth a Bucket of Dogshit (3+ / 0-)

    not to even mention minimum wage of $7.25/hr.

  •  Oh no! MA is going to lose 500,000 jobs statewide! (4+ / 0-)

    NOT!

    If Reagan was the answer, it must have been a very silly question.

    by shoeless on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 11:37:16 AM PDT

  •  It will be interesting to see how this pans out, (6+ / 0-)

    in terms of the "OMG jobs will be shredded" dire warnings.  

    Probably a similar outcome to "OMG marriage itself will be shredded!" dire warnings that were screamed in Massachusetts' direction, back in 2004-2005.

    Really glad to see this.  And I chuckled at the Spinal Tap reference in the title.

    •  It will be ignored (4+ / 0-)

      When the job apocalypse doesn't happen in Massachusetts, the usual suspects who accuse the minimum wage of killing jobs will just pretend that nothing is happening.  

      If Democrats proclaim the the Earth is round and Republicans insist it is flat, we will shortly see a column in the Washington Post claiming the the earth is really a semi-circle.

      by TexasTom on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 12:39:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  since MA has the lowest divorce rate in the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Torta

      country, the analogy bodes well. Yup, the first state to allow Gay people to marry has the lowest rate of divorce. M

      Hope our economy explodes!

      It is expensive here. Poverty rates are national and unrelated to expense (housing is by far the biggest expense the working poor have), so people even above the "poverty line" can actually be poorer than the "officially" poor in many areas of the country. People need this increase.

  •  Was that a Spinal Tap reference? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hillbilly Dem, MKSinSA
  •  Why do they have to wait until 2017? (5+ / 0-)

    Why can't they give this "raise" beginning Jan. 2015?

    I would rather spend my life searching for truth than live a single day within the comfort of a lie. ~ John Victor Ramses

    by KayCeSF on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 11:51:19 AM PDT

  •  Any mention of raising a state's minimum wage (5+ / 0-)

    without indexing it to inflation is really leaving people in a state of limbo.  Lord only knows what inflation will look like over the next few years, and even the Lord may not know what the legislature will look like in a few years.  It's like the current legislation has told minimum-wage workers, "Yes, we'll raise your wages, but once it is finally effected, you'll get a pay CUT every year after that."  

    I suppose the Massachusetts plan is better than nothing, but does this country always have to settle for better than nothing?

    "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing" - Edmund Burke

    by SueDe on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 11:55:34 AM PDT

    •  $11 an Hour is Worthless in Boston Metro (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Boston Jag, shoeless, SGA

      Dear lord I can't even imagine trying to make it on $11 an hour inside or near the 495 loop.  There isn't a single new studio apartment being built anywhere in Boston under $2000 a month.

      Don't get me wrong, anything's better than nothing, but Massachusetts is a very wide state in terms of distance and cost of living.

      •  Can Boston raise their min. wage ala SF + Seattle? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JohnnySacks

        New Republic: So are the left-wing blogs as bad as the Tea Party ones in this case? -------------------------Chuck Schumer: Left-wing blogs are the mirror image. They just have less credibility and less clout.

        by AlexDrew on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 02:38:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  well not worthless though I get your point (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nextstep

        I see you back away a little from "worthless", but it's still the main subject. If you are living on minimum wage, you likely are thrilled by this so don't like it said to be "worthless"...your income would go up by 1/3rd it is so low! I do wish it was higher and am disappointed it is put off for a few years. Hoping other states in the meantime surpass that.

        I note you said "new" studio apartment. The poor and working class in the Boston area, which you use as an example, don't tend to choose expensive "new" apartments unless they are subsidized so I'm not sure why you said that as an example. MA  housing stock is old.

        The average 1BR (not just a studio) can be rented for well less than the amount you give-about $1500 in my mixed income neighborhood, which is well within City limits. There is no need to pick an exaggerated example of prices because the status quo is hard enough.

        There is no way you can live alone on $11 in the Boston area or likely the rest of the state without help or roomates. I just posted how expensive is here-double the rent of some other areas of the country. I am not sure what you mean by MA being a "wide" state as it is quite "not wide" compared to others, in distance. A large percentage of people (something like 1/3rd or more) live within an hour commute of Boston so they too in most areas have to deal with the even higher rents, rent being by far the main expense of lower income people.

        •  'Wide' Meaning Disparity Between East and West (0+ / 0-)

          $11 an hour would have a much larger impact on the lives of those living out west than metro Boston.  The difference between the regional cost of housing indicates that a broad statewide pay rate is a poorly thought out solution, poorly thought out solutions being a particular criticism I've had for some time regarding Deval Patrick.

          I chose the $2000 a month studios because they're being built like a plague all over the city, but at $11 an hour, a wage earner grossing about $1750 a month is still going to be hard pressed to support a $1500 a month apartment, of which there are many 2br units available in bordering tough areas (Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn)

          •  I said in my neighborhood (0+ / 0-)

            Your example of studio in Boston being 2K , as representative of rental prices in Boston, was exaggeration to make your point. I don't disagree strongly with your point but hate when people pump up their data choices to make one.

            You say that the $11/hr earner would be hard pressed to pay for a one bedroom at $1500/month.

            Yes, he would. But you were originally talking studios. I brought in one bedroom to show that even my larger apartment was less than the expensive price you mentioned for only a studio. You can get a studio in Boston for $1000-half of your example. Someone working FT for $11/hr can, would, and do live in them. I know these people. Roughly, I was one for a while. It can be done if you don't own a car. I am not saying it is easy,  but it is very common and not as impossible as you indicate with your example choice, which entirely misleads people into thinking how no one of moderate income could live in Boston if that's the average.

            Anyway sorry to make a deal out of a small thing. I don't like when people use non-representative examples to back up their point. If your point is valid , representative samples should be enough.

  •  These go to 11... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ditsylilg, shoeless

  •  minimum wage (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shoeless

    and all of those 500K people effected by the raise will immediately do a 401K start-up.....

  •  The Nigel Tufnel Minimum Wage Act (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laura Clawson
  •  As a MA resident, I was disappointed in three (5+ / 0-)

    aspects of this law.  
    First that the steps of a dollar per year for 3 years is somehow a huge boon for those hurting now.  For a full time person that's an increase of $40/week.  How many of these hourly people are even getting 40 hrs?  Here's a piece of pie crust, wait three years for a sliver of pie.

    Second, with the increase not tied to any measure of cost of living, how many years will those on minimum wage have to wait for an increase?  Another 15 years?

    Third, giving a nod to tipped workers aside, the mere pittance of an increase for tipped workers is an insult.  Any who rely on tips are probably still making less per hour than their minimum wage counterparts.  

    But what would those on Beacon Hill know, they've never served the public in their life.  Even though that is their job...

    "We know too much to go back and pretend" - Helen Reddy (humble cosmos shaker)

    by ditsylilg on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 12:08:38 PM PDT

  •  $11.00 dollars an hour (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ChuckChuckerson

    is not enough, the dems do just enough to keep their seats and support and not an once more, pathetic.

  •  $11 per hour is great (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shoeless

    if this was the year 1985.

    •  Spare the hyperbole please (0+ / 0-)

      $11 in 1985 would be the equivalent of over $20/hour today.  Not realistic then, and not realistic today, because that is almost certainly high enough that it would start killing jobs -- granted, no one knows for sure, but for those wages you could pay for a lot of expensive automation equipment.

      If Democrats proclaim the the Earth is round and Republicans insist it is flat, we will shortly see a column in the Washington Post claiming the the earth is really a semi-circle.

      by TexasTom on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 12:42:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  $20 per hour would be a decent minimum wage. (0+ / 0-)

        It should be where we start the negotiations, if not higher. I'm sure you know that if the minimum wage kept up with productivity it would be higher than that already; http://www.cepr.net/....

        And spare me the tired right wing talking point about automation. It doesn't matter if you make $5 per hour, if your employer could replace you with a machine they would do it immediately because the machine is still cheaper. Wages have been stagnant for the working class for decades and jobs are still becoming automated wherever they can.

         Lets leave the "if poor people are paid a living wage they will be replaced by robots" line of bullshit to Redstate, this is a reality based community (or so I've been told).

      •  Yep, no one knows for sure, (0+ / 0-)

        and we never will, so minimum wage workers will continue to be spat upon by Democrats and Republicans alike. Only difference is that Democrats might provide a sneezeguard.

        How's about we raise the minimum wage to $20/hour right this very second and see what happens in two or three years? I would bet that if even a single job were lost as a result of the largesse, our governmental representatives would fall all over themselves to lower the wage back down. What's more, you'd even have "Democrats"- on this very site- supporting the move.

        •  That feels like so much money (0+ / 0-)

          It makes me think on one hand that some of the people posting that amount much make so much more that they think 20 is so low. It's double what low income people make, a pipe dream.

          Yet, it is ironically a reasonably thrifty amount to make to pay for a one bedroom apartment (without any public assistance) in the less but not least expensive areas of Boston. Especially if you have a car.

  •  My gov (0+ / 0-)

    Deval Patrick is the coolest!

    Too bad the Supreme court won't offer protections for those who have the legal right to have an abortion without having signs thrust in their faces and being shouted at. MA did the right thing. Not so, SCOTUS.

    Nothing matters but the song.

    by 47songs on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 12:35:00 PM PDT

  •  min wage causes rage, without it, only slaves (0+ / 0-)

    M theory?  Why is it good enough for the Fed, good enough for the U of C economists, but it seems that it is never applied when discussing the economic issues of the poor and disenfranchised?

    Curious.  We now know that Hayek was both wrong in his basic premise, and that his theories about supply side have many holes that do not fit current data.  

    Even the modern architect of the application of his theories (David Stockman), is shouting on the rooftops that this corrupt and evil economic theory is responsible for the decline of our society, both moral and economic.

    Minimum wage should be $15+ per hour.  This would ignite the greatest increase in consumptive growth, since WWII.  Am I wrong?  Would we see a gigantic drop in demand for the subsidy of Walmart workers with food stamps?  You bet!  Don't buy the lie that your neighbor wants a free ride. We are all one, or we are all done.

    The largest deficits in the US occurred during S/S presidents, or, in mopping up after them.

    Hoorah, Massachusetts. Go JMK!

  •  Loopholes (0+ / 0-)

    Independent contractors are exempt from the minimum wage law in Seattle, and they can undercut regular employees at will.

    Did Massachusetts do the same, or did they see through this loophole?

  •  15. n/t (0+ / 0-)

    The Republican Party is run by the KOCH BROTHERS.

    by unclebucky on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 02:15:33 PM PDT

  •  Not to brag or anything (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SGA

    but I had this story two weeks ago.

    It's really not complete without giving credit to the 150+ organizations and thousands of volunteers who formed the Raise Up Massachusetts coalition to put this issue on the ballot and got the legislature to act.

    As you say, the $11 is better than $8 by a lot (although by 2017 it will be worth $10.50 or less in today's money), but the failure to index and the low tipped wage are real disappointments, to me at least. It feels like the legislature pulled the rug out from under the ballot question at the 11th hour with a lousy deal. More discussion of it here.

    Stay tuned for the earned sick leave initiative, which will be going to the voters in November.

    “Republicans...think American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people... And they admire of Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it.” Harry S. Truman

    by fenway49 on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 02:45:27 PM PDT

    •  earned sick leave is needed for a civilized (0+ / 0-)

      society. I bet it is one of the things that most other industrialized nations have, like national health insurance prior to the ACA, that we lack.

      Thanks for the heads up that that is coming. I'd work on that issue here, if you are involved.

  •  Berkeley, CA is going to $12.53/hr (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jplanner

    in October, 2016.

    Final ordinance passed Tuesday evening.

    $10.00 - Oct, 2014.
    $11.00 - Oct, 2015
    $12.53 - Oct, 2016.

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