Voters Approve Minimum Wage Hikes in Arizona, Colorado, Maine and Washington

Author: Michael Cardman, XpertHR Legal Editor

November 9, 2016

On Election Day, voters in Arizona, Colorado, Maine and Washington approved ballot initiatives to increase the minimum wage.

Minimum wage rates will gradually increase over the next four years according to the following schedule, eventually reaching $12.00 in Arizona, Colorado and Maine, and $13.50 in Washington. Starting in 2021, the minimum wage rates will be adjusted for inflation once a year.

Upcoming minimum wage rates
Date Arizona Colorado Maine Washington
Current $8.05 $8.31 $7.50 $9.47
January 1, 2017 $10.00 $9.30 $9.00 $11.00
January 1, 2018 $10.50 $10.20 $10.00 $11.50
January 1, 2019 $11.00 $11.10 $11.00 $12.00
January 1, 2020 $12.00 $12.00 $12.00 $13.50
January 1, 2021, and every year thereafter Adjusted for inflation

Raising the minimum wage is popular with voters nationwide, but polling shows "clear partisan differences in support." The fact that the ballot initiatives passed by wide margins - not just in "blue" states like Colorado, Maine and Washington that supported Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, but also in a "red" state like Arizona where voters favored Donald Trump - suggests that employers can expect to see more ballot initiatives like these in future elections.

In related news, voters in South Dakota defeated a ballot initiative that would have established a youth minimum wage for non-tipped employees under the age of 18 of $7.50 per hour ($1.00 less than the minimum wage for adults), and voters in Berkeley, California, defeated a ballot initiative that would have changed the trajectory of the town's existing schedule of minimum wage increases.