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NEW YORK —  The once-unthinkable $15 minimum wage became a burgeoning reality in 2015.

Following the examples set by San Francisco and Seattle, 14 cities, counties and state governments approved a hike to $15 in their local minimum hourly pay, according to the National Employment Law Project.

And that momentum is likely to continue in the new year.

Lawmakers in 13 states and cities — including California, New York and Washington, D.C. — have proposed legislation and ballot measures calling for a $15 minimum that will get consideration in 2016.

In most places, the increase to $15 is being phased in over a few years to give businesses a little time to adjust.

That’s because a $15 minimum often reflects a 50%-plus hike from the local minimum in place today. And it represents a 107% increase over the $7.25 federal minimum wage.

New York made headlines this year when Gov. Andrew Cuomo bypassed the state legislature to put in place a $15 minimum for fast-food workers at large chains. He also mandated it for state workers.

Now Cuomo is suggesting that all businesses in New York pay a $15 minimum, a proposal that lawmakers in Albany are expected to take up early in the new year.

Beyond the “Fight for $15,” however, at least 13 states will see their minimum wages go up next year as a result of prior legislation.

Here’s a list of many places where low-income workers will see more in their paychecks at some point in 2016.


Alaska: $9.75, up $1

Arkansas: $8, up $0.50

California: $10, up $1

Connecticut: $9.60, $0.45

Hawaii: $8.50, up $0.75

Maryland: $8.75, up $0.75

Massachusetts: $10, up $1

Michigan: $8.50, $0.35

Nebraska: $9, up $1

New York: $9, up $0.25

Rhode Island: $9.60, up $0.60

Vermont: $9.60, up $0.45

West Virginia: $8.75, up $0.75

*10 states — Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota and Washington — will see small cost-of-living increases in their minimum wages.


Buffalo, NY (city workers): $9.75, up $1

Chicago, IL: $10.50, up $0.50 Mountain View, Calif.: $11, up $0.70

Missoula, Mont. (city workers): $12, up $2.95

New York, NY (fast-food workers, state workers): $10.50, up $1.75; (elsewhere in NY state $9.75, up $1)

Los Angeles County, Calif.: $10.50, up $1.50

Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, Md.: $10.75, up $1.20

Portland, Me.: $10.10, up $2.60

San Francisco: $13, up $0.75

Seattle: $13 (for large businesses), up $2