A break from the drumbeat of national criticism of Arkansas government’s rigged Medicaid work rule to slash spending on health coverage for the working poor: Mother Jones highlights the current campaign to increase the minimum wage here.

Because Congress hasn’t moved on the minimum wage since 2009, and earning poor has steadily declined in the nine years since, many states have stepped in, including Arkansas several years ago. Now an amendment is on the ballot to increase the minimum from $8.50 to $11 by 2021. The Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and allies are fighting it, naturally, and still hope to prevail in a lawsuit to deprive people of the right to vote.


Mother Jones provides some background on help for the cause:

Both efforts in Arkansas and Missouri have gotten a boost from the Fairness Project, a national organization which has helped pay for canvassers and television ads in both states. The resources provided by it and other organizations have given Arkansans for a Fair Wage the funds necessary to advertise on television and reach the state’s more isolated voters.

Raises in the minimum wage have been shown to significantly improve worker conditions. The Fairness Project estimates that since 2017, worker have collectively earned an extra $5.87 billion in states with minimum wages raised through ballot initiatives. A report from Arkansas Advocates for Children and Family found that almost 300,000 people, or one-in-four working Arkansans, would benefit from the minimum wage hike, resulting in an average income bump of $1,500 per year. In Missouri, 677,000 workers will be directly or indirectly impacted by the wage increase, Tony Wyche, spokesperson for Raise Up Missouri, tells Mother Jones.

“I think there’s a greater sense of urgency in doing something that will directly benefit workers,” says Laura Huizar, staff attorney with the National Employment Law Project, which has supported efforts in both states. “It’s also very clear that those economic gains haven’t been shared by everyone.” Despite a five-year low in unemployment and steady GDP growth, worker’s wages across the country have remained stagnant for decade



Another way of looking at it: The rich have gotten richer thanks to tax breaks and they don’t want to give a penny of it back.