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Arkansas’ minimum wage is set to rise

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Arkansas’ minimum wage is set to rise

Tiana Thompson, [email protected]

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Arkansas’ minimum wage is $8.50 and is set to increase gradually until Jan. 2021 where it will become at $11.
Arkansas voters confirmed the Issue five Referendum on minimum wage increase in Tuesday’s midterm election. The referendum stated that it would raise the minimum wage from $8.50 to $9.25 on Jan. 1, 2019, to $10 on Jan. 1, 2020 and to $11 on Jan. 1, 2021.
The minimum wage increase will help working family members receive higher paychecks. According to census.gov, the Arkansas poverty level is at 17.2 percent. It is the sixth highest ranked state in the U.S. when it comes to poverty. Lawmakers expect the higher pay will allow people to pay back debt and make living conditions easier for Arkansas residents.
Charles Riddick, a senior public relations major, thinks that it’s a great idea.
“People can argue that when wages increase, so will prices, but that decision is up to business owners that you choose to do business with,” Riddick said.
Riddick said he believed that if citizens support businesses with higher wages that are capable of taking a pay cut, we can get higher wages at the same price. He has hopes that Louisiana will follow in Arkansas’ footsteps on the pay raise.
Kayleigh Richard agrees that Louisiana should raise minimum wage, but only to $9. Richard is a sophomore risk management major who supports a move towards pay raise in Louisiana, because she feels it would compensate workers who put in effort and will get a little more advantage with their pay.
“I think it is a bad idea being that Arkansas’ economy isn’t the best, therefore, cost of living isn’t high either,” Richard said.
According to the Missouri Economy Research and Information Center, Arkansas is the second lowest ranked state to live in based on cost to live with an index of 87.4. The value of a dollar in Arkansas is $1.14. Louisiana is the seventeenth ranked state on the list with an index of 92.9. The value of a dollar in Louisiana is $1.10.
Paul Nelson, an economics professor, does not see this in Louisiana’s future.
“This is a more political topic than economical. Arkansas’s vote was more of a populist vote, but I don’t see Louisiana’s legislature passing it,” Nelson said.
As far as the economy goes, Nelson said that this could lead to higher unemployment rates in Arkansas. Arkansas is currently at a 3.5 percent unemployment rate. Nelson acknowledges that it is a gradual increase but believes business will look into the future of the increase.

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The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe
Arkansas’ minimum wage is set to rise