Thursday brought the announcement that Massachusetts will be raising the state’s minimum wage to $11/hour by 2017, which would make it the highest state-mandated minimum wage in the country.
I don’t remember much about the Governor’s call to raise the wage in his state of the state address in January, but the press release says he did and if that’s true then I have to say this is pretty fast turnaround on a bill that will actually help real working people.
The bill also changes some unemployment stuff (for the better) and apparently makes permanent a task force that is “charged with combating the underground economy.” This means that by raising wages for the lowest-paying jobs the government hopes to encourage workers into the “real” economy and out of the shadowy, under-the-table world of work committed yet never taxed. “Underground” work is usually low-paying and often becomes a smaller and smaller part of the economy as that economy does better, allowing governments to collect more taxes.
Nothing to do now but sit back and watch the right-wing predictions of the inevitable collapsing employment, economic chaos and oh, let’s say invasion by China brought on by this wage increase absolutely and completely not happen.
A somewhat recent study shows us, again, that raising wages helps economic growth.