Arkansans will have a chance to give people making minimum wage a raise this November. On Wednesday the Arkansas Secretary of State certified that ‘An Act to Increase the Arkansas Minimum Wage’ had enough valid signatures so it would be placed on the general election ballot. It will be issue number 5.
If approved by voters it would raise the minimum wage to $7.50 per hour on January 1, 2015, then to $8.00 in 2016, and to $8.50 in 2017.
This is good news for low income people across the state. While minimum wage increases tend to be very popular with the general public these proposals have much less support among politicians, especially Republican politicians. Going around politicians by putting the issue directly before the voters is often the only way to get a minimum wage increase in red states these days.
Campaigns have already successfully put minimum wage increases on the ballot in Alaska, Nebraska and South Dakota this year.
This could also be good news for Sen. Mark Pryor (D) who faces a tough re-election this year. If the minimum wage ballot measure helps drive turnout among Democrats and left-leaning voters, that would give Pryor a small boost.