Wage hike and marijuana advocates win big in polls

By Paul Henson, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Nov. 6, 2014

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – Those pushing for an increase in minimum wage scored a victory in 4 states Tuesday. Voters in Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota supported to initiatives to hike wages above $7.25 an hour. That means more than half of the states now have wages above the federal minimum.

California cities San Francisco and Oakland also passed wage hike ballot initiatives.

Central to the debate: will raising the minimum wage lead to job growth or job loss? Will businesses hire fewer workers because of higher wages?

A Bloomberg-Businessweek report says restaurant and retail industries, which pay most workers at or below minimum wage, will be the most affected.

But the report indicates that these industries will bounce back from the increase in the cost of doing business. That’s because these industries will gain from an increase in consumer spending, or customers with more money to spend because of higher wages.

Meantime, those pushing to legalize marijuana scored victories in Alaska, Oregon and Washington D.C.

In Alaska, some shops in are getting ready for new business. But regulators warn that the vote still has to be certified and regulations have to be put in place.

This early, pro-marijuana activists are looking to 2016 for the same initiatives in other states including California.

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