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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Democrats say minimum-wage battles to help 2014 turnout

Wages determine rates of workers' compensation benefits and ultimately insurance premium costs for employers. Today's post was shared by Steven Greenhouse and comes from

Rep. Steve Israel

WASHINGTON — Democrats hope a slew of potential ballot initiatives to increase the minimum wage next year in key states will drive up voter turnout and help their party in midterm congressional elections.

Advocates of wage increases are pushing 2014 ballot measures in several states, including Massachusetts, Idaho, Alaska and South Dakota. Legislative campaigns are planned in other states, including Illinois.

Last week, New Jersey voters overwhelmingly approved an increase in the state's minimum hourly rate by $1 to $8.25. It became the fifth state to hike its minimum wage this year, joining California, New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

The flurry of state efforts comes as President Obama and some congressional Democrats push an increase of the $7.25-an-hour federal minimum wage, unchanged since 2009. In February, Obama proposed raising the hourly rate to $9, but it has not gained traction in the GOP-led House. House Speaker John Boehner has said it would result in fewer jobs.

The White House recently endorsed a separate measure by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, that would hike the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2015 in several increments.

"The refusal to increase the minimum wage is just one of the ways House Republicans have inflicted harm on the economy and hurt people's pocketbooks," said New York Rep. Steve Israel, who chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "2014 is going to be a referendum on who has helped the middle class and...

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