How Republicans Are Blocking Cities From Raising the Minimum Wage

Since Donald Trump took office, many liberals have looked to cities and states as central fronts in the Democratic resistance. With a president hostile to progressive policies of all kinds, the thinking goes, state legislatures and city councils offer more hope for action on a wide range of issues, from regulating carbon emissions to defending immigrant rights.

Nowhere has the “think local” strategy seemed more promising than in the fight to increase the minimum wage. Since 2004, 34 localities from Maryland to New Mexico have raised the minimum wage above their state levels. In November, four states—Arizona, Maine, Colorado, and Washington—passed ballot measures to raise the minimum wage above its current federal level of $7.25 an hour. In a deeply divided country, it’s a policy that commands strong bipartisan support: 74 percent of Americans say they want to raise the minimum wage, and the Maine measure passed with 420,000 votes—more than any ballot initiative in state history.

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Preemption bills aren’t designed to reduce complexity—they’re intended to override the wishes of voters and promote the GOP’s business-first ideology, at the expense of working-class Americans. “Conservatives tout the virtues of local control all the time,” says Laura Huizar, a staff attorney at the National Employment Law Project. “But when it comes to local actions that raise wages for workers, that talk goes out the window. It’s a completely hypocritical agenda.”

Read the complete article at New Republic.


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