Secretary of State Mark Martin announced Wednesday that the ballot initiative to increase the minimum wage in Arkansas has met the initial signature count requirement.
Secretary of State Mark Martin announced Wednesday that the ballot initiative to increase the minimum wage in Arkansas has met the initial signature count requirement. The proposed constitutional amendment needed 62,507 signatures and turned in over 64,000. The signatures are undergoing verification by the Secretary of State’s Office and as a result of meeting the initial count requirement, organizers now have 30 additional days to collect signatures.
The proposed ballot initiative would raise the minimum wage in Arkansas from the current $6.25 and hour to $8.50 an hour by 2017. Federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 an hour. Many in Washington are calling for that to be raised as well, though the ongoing dysfunction in Congress makes any movement on the federal level extremely unlikely.
The Southwest Office of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced its County Employment and Wages in Arkansas-Fourth Quarter 2013 last month. According to the report, average weekly wages in Cleburne County were $550-649/week. This falls well below the national average of $1000/week. Only four Arkansas counties were close to or at the national average – Benton, Washington, Pulaski, Calhoun, and Union. Most other Arkansas counties were well below, with neighboring Stone County only averaging $549 or less per week.