WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama's call to raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour and keep increasing it annually for inflation is already getting a trial run. Ten states make similar cost-of-living adjustments, including Washington state, where workers earn at least $9.19 an hour. That's the highest minimum wage in the country.
In all, 19 states and the District of Columbia have minimum wages set above the federal rate of $7.25. Obama highlighted that disparity in his State of the Union address on Tuesday night. The proposal is renewing the age-old debate about whether boosting the minimum wage helps or hurts the economy. Advocates claim it pumps more money into the economy, helping to create new jobs. Business groups say it curbs demand for workers.