The corporate lobby thinks the sky will fall if Arkansas voters increase the minimum wage in next week’s election. The facts don’t bear that out.

Here’s a report from the National Employment Law Project reviewing Arkansas after the 2014 increase in the minimum wage to the current $8.50 an hour, similarly predicted as damaging to business in Arkansas. In summary:

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In 2014, Arkansas voters overwhelmingly approved a minimum wage increase to $8.50 over three years. Despite scaremongering from critics that the state would lose jobs and workers’ wages would decline, research and data show that the state fared just as well or better than neighboring states with lower minimum wages in the years following the increase. From 2014

to 2017, Arkansas’ unemployment rate fell faster and average annual earnings rose more rapidly than in five out of six neighboring states. The state’s experience remaining economically competitive with its neighbors after minimum wage increases confirms 25 years of sophisticated research that overwhelmingly concludes that minimum wage increases do not harm employment.

There are facts and there’s faith. The suits think low wages and low taxes on the wealthy produce prosperity. Indeed they do. For about 1 percent.

Voters are being asked to increase the minimum gradually to $11 by 2021. Just yesterday, Arkansas Children’s Hospital said it was setting its minimum wage at $14 so its workers could have a living wage and also to compete with other employers.

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