It’s easy to summarize reporting on political reaction to certification of a ballot issue to raise the minimum wage — Democratic candidates support it, Republican candidates don’t.

Oh, there’s some parsing and evading by Republicans, but a forthright expression of support? You won’t find it in the Democrat-Gazette report. They are undoubtedly hoping that their backers at the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce will succeed in a promised legal effort to knock the wage increase off the ballot so they can continue to dodge the issue. The Friday Firm or similar legal tribune for the fat cats will soon be putting a microscope to the signatures gathered when finally Republican Attorney General Leslie Rutledge was forced by the Supreme Court to stop blocking popular ballot initiatives and allow signature-gathering to begin.


The measure will take the current $8.50/hour minimum up to $11 in 2021. Walmart has already put its minimum wage there and they seem to be getting by.

Meanwhile, the scorecard from today’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette article


All Democrats

Jared Henderson, governor
Mike Lee, attorney general
Clarke Tucker, 2nd District Congress


All Republicans

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (dodged direct question, but said he generally opposed to initiated wage proposals and, as Henderson noted, he was against the last increase before he was for it.)

Leslie Rutledge, attorney general. Dodged question, issued word salad.

U.S. Rep. French Hill. Refused to answer the question.


If any Democrat or Republican would like to depart from the examples set here, I’d be happy to take specific note. Otherwise, expect the Democratic candidates to support an increase in pay for working men and women and for Republican candidates to say it is bad for business. There’s abundant proof in the research that the Democrats are correct and the Republicans incorrect on the facts, but we live in a faith-based tribal world and holding down the working (wo)man has always been popular in Arkansas.

See, just this year, from the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce/corporate party (GOP):

Opposition to minimum wage
Opposition to access to courts for damages
Support for court control by a legislature known for corruption, self-dealing and corporate influence.
Support for longer terms in office for legislators known for corruption, self-dealing and corporate influence.
Support for more tax cuts for the wealthy.
Support for vote suppression

We already know from the Trump tax cuts that it brought lower real wages, despite the windfall for corporations and the wealthy. Any promise from the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce that the tax cuts will lift wages without need for encouragement in law is worth as much as a Donald Trump stump pronouncement.

Perspective: If you have a full-time job that pays $8.50 an hour and you are able to get 40 hours of work a week, 52 weeks a year (no vacation), you earn $17,680 before deductions. By federal guidelines, a family of four is considered impoverished if they make less than $25,100.