Arkansas Minimum Wage Increase Proposal Makes It On November Ballot

FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) -- Arkansas current minimum wage is $8.50,  but a local group is working to create a law that would raise the
minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2021.

Kristin Foster is the campaign manager for the newly formed group which submitted over one hundred thousand signatures in support of the initiative, successfully getting it on the November ballot.

"This is going to be such a wonderful benefit for so many hard-working Arkansans, we're really excited to see it on the ballot," said Foster.

Some say making it a law for businesses to increase minimum wage would not be good for the Arkansas economy.

Randy Zook, President, and CEO of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce said the chamber is considering filing a lawsuit against the ballot initiative.

Zook said it's not a good idea to make an economic policy by creating a law, the market should regulate pay rates and it will ultimately will despite legislative attempts.

Foster said, "every Arkansan who is working full time should be able to afford to feed their kids, have a house to live in. They should be able to meet their basic needs with a full-time job, I don't think anyone can deny that that's fair and that's what we are working towards."

Governor Asa Hutchinson told our partners at Talk Business and Politics, he supports an increase in the minimum wage, but it's the manner in which it is done.

Hutchinson would prefer raising the minimum wage to be done by legislative enactment versus putting it on the ballot periodically. Hutchinson said it's easier to adjust on a regular basis than setting a firm deadline, in three years you don`t know what the state of the economy is going to be in.

According to the latest Arkansas Ethics Commission report, as of July 31, the Chamber had not raised any money.

Zook told Talk Business and Politics that the Chamber doesn’t have money in hand but does have enough commitments to pay for the cost of a legal challenge regarding the signature collection process.

Zook did not yet know what violations signature collectors might have committed.