The goal to set the minimum wage statewide to $15 an hour will remain in dispute in many U.S. states


“These large and widespread pay raises will substantially reverse the past three decades of growing wage inequality among California’s low-paid workers,” says the Institute’s Michael Reich. At the opposite, a growing number of states have been creating ceilings  preventing increasingly active cities and towns from going above the state level maximum. “It’s certainly among the most extreme in terms of the range of local measures that the state is willing to prohibit,” says Ben Beach, legal director of the Partnership for Working Families, a network of progressive groups. Legislators backing the pre-emption measures say that allowing cities to pass their own standards is bad for business, and that the free market is a better way to create jobs and affordable housing. If the trend continues, the divide between states like California that set floors for cities to rise above and those like Tennessee that set ceilings that everyone must stay below will continue to grow.


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