California isn’t alone raising its minimum wage – Orange County Register

There’s a holiday gift coming for California’s minimum-wage earners — pay hikes for 2018.

And it’s not just a Golden State bonus.

Starting Jan. 1, California employers with 26 or more employees will raise their lowest pay grade by 50 cents to $11 an hour. Bosses with fewer workers must raise their lowest hourly rates by 50 cents to $10.50. This increase is part of legislation that will push the statewide hourly minimum to $15 as soon as 2022.

For those who think minimum wages are a bad idea, please note that California is by no means a loner with this action. And if you think the increase is simply politics by a liberal-leaning state government, you should understand that states upping their minimum wages for 2018 are not limited to progressive “blue” states.

Look, the federal minimum wage — $7.25 an hour — hasn’t budged in almost nine years. As a result, local and state lawmakers of various political stripes are taking action to help boost the wages of those working at the lowest pay rungs, especially in high-cost regions like California.

A report by the Employment Policy Institute — no fan of the minimum wage — shows seven states that have leaned decidedly “red” in recent elections, upping their minimum wage for 2018: Montana, Ohio, Florida, Missouri, South Dakota, Michigan and Arizona.

These are states that went for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential race. And minus a Democratic governor in Montana, these states have Republican control of the governor’s seat and the state legislatures. The minimum hourly wage in these states is increasing by an average 24 cents (2.8 percent) to $8.76.

As a comparison, California and eight other very “blue” states are a tad more generous — upping their minimum wage by an average 53 cents (5.5 percent) to $10.23 an hour.

Note: The institute shows two states with conservative reputations but mixed voting habits — Alaska and Maine — are also upping minimum wages.

At the local level, the…

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