Minimum Wage in Arkansas Could Get a Raise

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FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- Several polls have indicated the minimum wage issue on the ballot will pass.

Right now minimum wage workers -- including some state employees -- make $6.25 an hour. But records show most employees are paid at least the federal rate of $7.25, because companies with five or more employees, among other criteria (working for a business that has a revenue of at least $500,000 or is engaged in interstate commerce) are required to pay the federal minimum wage.

Little Rock attorney David Couch, who is leading the effort for a higher minimum wage with Give Arkansas a Raise Now, said it will have the biggest impact on state employees.

“There are a lot of people that work for the state of Arkansas that make $6.25 an hour. And so the state of Arkansas is exempt from federal law, so this will really give those people a raise,” Couch said.

If passed, the minimum wage would go to $7.50 on Jan. 1 2015, $8.00 on Jan. 1, 2016, and $8.50 on Jan. 2017.

Seth Longoria voted against the wage hike Tuesday (Nov. 4).

“I think it should be up to the employer. While there should be a minimum -- where does it end? If you keep raising it and raising it, [it is] forcing companies to pay more,” Longoria said.

Arkansas is one of three states with minimum wage lower than the federal rate.