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Alaska Minimum Wage Increase, Ballot Measure 3 (2014)

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Ballot Measure 3
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Type:Initiated state statute
Referred by:Citizens
Topic:Minimum wage
Status:Approved Approveda
2014 measures
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August 19
Ballot Measure 1 Defeatedd
November 4
Ballot Measure 2 Approveda
Ballot Measure 3 Approveda
Ballot Measure 4 Approveda
EndorsementsFull text
Local measures
The Alaska Minimum Wage Increase, Ballot Measure 3 was on the November 4, 2014 ballot in the state of Alaska as an initiated state statute, where it was approved.[1]

The measure increased the state's minimum wage from $7.75 per hour to $8.75 beginning January 1, 2015. It was scheduled to be increased again on January 1, 2016, to $9.75 per hour. From that point on, the minimum wage was slated to be adjusted based on inflation or to remain $1 higher than the federal minimum wage, whichever amount is greater. As a result of the measure's passage, Alaska was projected to have one of the highest minimum wages of any state in 2016.[2][3]


The initial increase from $7.75 to $8.75 was delayed to begin on February 24, 2015, rather than January 1, 2015. Alaska law states that ballot initiatives cannot go into effect until 90 days after an election is certified, causing a delay in implementation. The 2016 increase to $9.75 is still set to go into effect on January 1, 2016.[4]

Election results

Below are the official, certified results:

Alaska Ballot Measure 3
Approveda Yes 194,654 69.35%

Election results via: Alaska Division of Elections

Text of measure

Ballot title

The official ballot title of this measure read as follows:[5]

Ballot Measure No. 3 - 13MINW An Act to Increase Alaska’s Minimum Wage[6]

Ballot summary

The full ballot summary read as follows:[5]

This bill would raise Alaska’s minimum wage from $7.75 per hour to $8.75 per hour as of January 1, 2015. The bill would raise the minimum wage to $9.75 per hour as of January 1, 2016. The bill would adjust the minimum wage each year for inflation after 2016. The bill creates a method for this adjustment. Under the bill, if the adjusted minimum wage is less than one dollar over the federal minimum wage, Alaska’s minimum wage will be one dollar over the federal minimum. Tips or gratuities would not count toward the minimum wage. The bill has a statement of findings and declaration. This statement gives reasons for the bill. The reasons pertain to quality of life for low income workers, the effect of increases in the cost of living, the relationship of the Alaska minimum wage to the federal poverty level, and the minimum wage in other states.

Should this initiative become law? [6]

Full initiative text

The full initiative text read as follows:[7]

Initiative Petition Bill Language by Petition Sponsors A Bill Increasing Alaska’s Minimum Wage

FOR AN ACT ENTITLED “An Act increasing the Alaska minimum wage to $8.75 per hour effective January 1, 2015, $9.75 per hour effective January 1, 2016 and thereafter adjusted annually for inflation.”


Section 1. Findings and Declaration

The people of the State of Alaska find and declare that: (a) An increase in Alaska’s minimum wage will help ensure a minimum standard of living for the health and well being of every Alaskan, (b) Alaskans working full-time at the current minimum wage earn far below the federal poverty level for a family of three, (c) The U.S. West Coast states of Washington, Oregon, and California already have a higher minimum wage than the State of Alaska, (d) A fair minimum wage indexed to the cost of living will help low-income workers keep pace with inflation.

Section 2. Purpose

The purpose and intent of enacting this legislation is to raise Alaska’s minimum wage to $8.75 per hour effective January 1, 2015, $9.75 per hour effective January 1, 2016, and thereafter adjusted annually for inflation.

Section 3. AS 23.10.065(a) is repealed and reenacted to read:

(a) Except as otherwise provided for in law, an employer shall pay to each employee a minimum wage, as established herein, for hours worked in a pay period, whether the work is measured by time, piece, commission or otherwise. An employer may not apply tips or gratuities bestowed upon employees as a credit toward payment of the minimum hourly wage required by this section. Tip credit as defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 as amendment does not apply to the minimum wage established by this section. Beginning with the passage of this Act, the minimum wage shall be $8.75 per hour effective January 1, 2015, $9.75 per hour effective January 1, 2016 and thereafter adjusted annually for inflation. The adjustment shall be calculated each September 30, for the proceeding January-December calendar year, by the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, using 100 percent of the rate of inflation based on the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers for the Anchorage metropolitan area, compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, United States Department of Labor; the department shall round the adjusted minimum hourly wage up to the nearest one cent; the adjusted minimum hourly wage shall apply to work performed beginning on January 1 through December 31 of the year for which it is effective.

Section 4. If the minimum wage determined under Section 3 is less than one dollar over the federal minimum wage, the Alaska minimum wage shall be set at one dollar over the federal minimum wage. This amount shall be adjusted in subsequent years by the method established in Section 3.[6]


See also: 2014 ballot measure hot topics: Minimum wage

Minimum wage in Alaska

Alaska was the first state to adopt a minimum wage higher than that at the federal level. Furthermore, it maintained the highest minimum wage rate for more than 30 years after achieving statehood in 1959. The last time the minimum wage rose was in 2009 when the rate was increased from $7.15 to $7.25 per hour, in accordance with the federal minimum wage rate. It was during this time that the Alaska Legislature voted to restore a provision that set Alaska's minimum wage rate at 50 cents above the federal rate. As a result, the minimum wage increased to $7.75 per hour beginning on January 1, 2010.[8]

In 2002, citizens successfully collected enough signatures to place a measure on the ballot in an attempt to increase the state minimum wage. However, the legislature acted first and raised the minimum wage from $5.65 to $7.15, eliminating the need for the measure. Included in the legislation was a provision that called for future increases based on annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs). However, this provision was repealed in 2003. Had it not been eradicated, Alaska's minimum wage would have been set at $9.53 per hour in 2014.[8]

2014 minimum wages

Below is a chart detailing the minimum wage in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, as of 2014:

State 2014 minimum wage State 2014 minimum wage
Alabama $7.25[9] Nebraska $7.25
Alaska $7.75 Nevada $8.25
Arizona $7.90 New Hampshire $7.25
Arkansas $6.25[10] New Jersey $8.25
California $9.00 New Mexico $7.50
Colorado $8.00 New York $8.00
Connecticut $8.70 North Carolina $7.25
Delaware $7.75 North Dakota $7.25
Florida $7.93 Ohio $7.95
Georgia $5.15[10] Oklahoma $7.25
Hawaii $7.25 Oregon $9.10
Idaho $7.25 Pennsylvania $7.25
Illinois $8.25 Rhode Island $8.00
Indiana $7.25 South Carolina $7.25[9]
Iowa $7.25 South Dakota $7.25
Kansas $7.25 Tennessee $7.25[9]
Kentucky $7.25 Texas $7.25
Louisiana $7.25[9] Utah $7.25
Maine $7.50 Vermont $8.73
Maryland $7.25 Virginia $7.25
Massachusetts $8.00 Washington $9.32
Michigan $7.40 West Virginia $7.25
Minnesota $8.00 Wisconsin $7.25
Mississippi $7.25[9] Wyoming $5.15[10]
Missouri $7.50 Washington, D.C. $9.50
Montana $7.90

2014 ballot measures

Voters in four states - Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota - voted to raise their state's minimum wage at the November 4, 2014, general election. All four were approved. The following table shows what minimum wage rates were implemented in these states.

State Measure 2014 wage 2015 Increase 2016 Increase 2017 Increase
Alaska Alaska Ballot Measure 3 $7.75 $8.75 $9.75 N/A
Arkansas Arkansas Issue 5 $6.25 $7.50 $8.00 $8.50
Nebraska Nebraska Initiative 425 $7.25 $8.00 $9.00 N/A
South Dakota South Dakota Initiated Measure 18 $7.25 $8.50 Based on inflation N/A


Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 12.10.26 PM.png

This initiative was sponsored by the group Alaskans for a Fair Minimum Wage. Supporters, including Ed Flanagan, the group's chair, believed the minimum wage in Alaska had been "too low for too long."[11]



An Alaskans for a Fair Minimum Wage advertisement, titled "#AKneedsaraise."



Campaign contributions

As of December 2, 2014, Alaskans for a Fair Minimum Wage had received a total of $159,623 in contributions.[14]

PAC info:

PAC/ballot measure group Amount raised Amount spent
Alaskans for a Fair Minimum Wage $159,623 $329,666
Total $159,623 $329,666

Disclaimer: According to campaign finance reports published by the state of Alaska, the group, Alaskans for a Fair Minimum Wage, spent more than it raised. This was possible because the group was able to accrue debt.

Top 5 contributors:

Donor Amount
Alaska AFL-CIO $78,500
Teamsters Local 959 $10,000
2014 Putting Alaskans First $9,269
Putting Alaskans First Committee $9,216
2014 Alaska State Employees Association Local 52 PAC $8,000


As of July 31, 2014, no formal opposition group had formed. Kyle Hampton, an assistant professor of economics at the University of Alaska Anchorage and director of the UAA Center for Economic Education, debated Ballot Measure 3 with Flanagan, one of the measure's primary sponsors. During the debate, Hampton argued the minimum wage "is mostly an arbitrary figure that doesn’t necessarily lift people out of poverty" and suggested "the wage increases offer a short-term solution to a long-term problem of poverty."[15]

Reports and analyses

See also: Minimum wage reports and analyses

The following studies are only a small sample of available research on the minimum wage. A broader overview of each study below is available here.

Neutral findings

  • Congressional Budget Office: In a February 2014 report, the CBO concluded that unemployment would rise, but the poverty rate would fall if the federal minimum wage was raised to $9.00 or $10.10. A $9 minimum wage would reduce employment by 100,000 or 0.06 percent, but 7.6 million workers would see their wages increase. A $10.10 minimum wage would reduce employment by 500,000 or 0.3 percent, but 16.5 million workers would see their wages increase.[16]

Findings in support

An Economic Policy Institute video summarizing some of their research and calling for a higher minimum wage.

  • Economic Policy Institute: In Raising America’s Pay: Why It’s Our Central Economic Policy Challenge, EPI economists concluded that despite increasing economic productivity, wages for most workers had stagnated or declined since 1979. They said this had occurred for four reasons: (1) Policies that reduced the bargaining power of workers and boosted the bargaining powers of "capital owners and corporate managers;" (2) The globalizing influence of free trade agreements; (3) “[T]he dramatic drop in top tax rates since the late 1970s;" and (4) the Federal Reserve Board's emphasis on decreasing inflation, rather than decreasing unemployment. The study called for both redistribution and predistribution in attempts to increase wages. By "redistribution," the authors meant "taxes and transfers," and by "predistribution," they meant "policies that impact the wages workers receive in the labor market," such as the minimum wage.[17]
  • Institute for Research and Labor Employment: The study looked at minimum wage differences between contiguous counties located in different states. These counties represented good control groups, according to the authors, since there was a difference in base wages between them, but many similar characteristics as well. By looking at counties across a 15 year timespan, the authors concluded, "These estimates suggest no detectable employment losses from the kind of minimum wage increases we have seen in the United States."[18]

Findings in opposition

An Employment Policies Institute video summarizing some of their research and opposing an increased minimum wage.

  • Employment Policies Institute: Economist Bradley R. Schiller examined "employment and family income of minimum wage workers between the ages of 33 and 50, in the years between 1998 and 2006 when the federal minimum wage was unchanged at $5.15 an hour." He finds that "concern about the ability of minimum wage employment to provide income support for families is exaggerated. Few adult minimum wage workers have families to support. And those adult minimum wage workers who do have families get substantial income from spousal employment."[19]
  • National Bureau of Economic Research: Minimum Wages and Employment: A Review of Evidence from the New Minimum Wage Research is a review of the literature on minimum wage. David Neumark and William Wascher, the authors, concluded that a "sizable majority" of studies "give a relatively consistent (although not always statistically significant) indication of negative employment effects of minimum wages." Neumark and Wascher expressed a particular concern with disemployment effects on low-skilled workers. They said when research focused on this group, "evidence for disemployment effects seems especially strong."[20]

Media editorial positions

See also: Endorsements of Alaska ballot measures, 2014


  • The Daily News-Miner said,
For the first time in more than a decade, Alaskans will go to the polls in a week to determine, among other things, whether to raise the state’s minimum wage. Ballot Measure 3, which would establish the increase and its terms, has been the least controversial of the three initiatives on the general election ballot this year. There are several reasons that’s the case, but the biggest one is simple. The majority of Alaskans support the measure and should. A hike in the state’s minimum wage isn’t just due, it’s overdue.[6]

Daily News-Miner[21]

  • The Juneau Empire said,
Bill Walker and Gov. Sean Parnell agree. So do Sen. Mark Begich and Dan Sullivan.

On Nov. 4, Alaskans should vote yes on Ballot Measure 3 and raise the state’s minimum wage.

A minimum wage increase is not just due, it is overdue.[6]

Juneau Empire[22]

  • The Frontiersman said,
Yes, it would mean businesses — like the Frontiersman — would spend more on labor. But at the same time, it also means our minimum wage employees would have more cash in their pockets to feed their families, pay rent and to spend on “luxury items,” such as an occasional meal out, or a trip to the movies. All that means more money turning over in the Mat-Su Valley. That’s why we support the initiative on the Nov. 4 ballot that would raise Alaska’s minimum wage to $8.75 per hour on Jan. 1, 2015, to $9.75 on Jan. 1, 2016, and thereafter adjust it for inflation.[6]


Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing the initiative process in Alaska

Supporters were required to collect at least 30,169 valid signatures by January 9, 2014, in order to land the initiative on the 2014 ballot.[2] Supporters submitted approximately 43,500 signatures. Enough signatures were validated to send the measure to the ballot.[3]

Ballot placement

All four measures set to appear on the state ballot in 2014 were originally slated to appear on the August 19 primary ballot. However, only one, a veto referendum, was on the primary ballot. The three others, including Ballot Measure 3, were scheduled to appear on the November 4 general election ballot. The 2014 legislative session began on January 21, 2014, and was scheduled to conclude on April 20, 2014. Instead, it ended on April 25, 2014, five days after its scheduled conclusion.[24] Because lawmakers couldn't agree on an education bill, the 2014 session surpassed its deadline. Since legislators failed to end the session on time, the three initiated state statutes were pushed from the August primary ballot to the general one in November, as Alaska law mandates at least 120 days separate the end of the legislative session and Election Day for initiatives.[25] Voter turnout for general elections has historically been greater than that of the primaries. Therefore, more residents might have cast votes on this issue than if the question appeared on the primary ballot.[26]

Similar measures

The following measures related to minimum wage increases were proposed for general election ballots in November:

See also

Suggest a link

External links



  1., "Alaska will vote on raising minimum wage," February 19, 2014
  2. 2.0 2.1 Homer News, "Minimum wage hike plan gets go-ahead," June 26, 2013
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3, "Labor Group Submits Signatures Backing Statewide Vote To Raise Minimum Wage," January 18, 2014
  4. Alaska Dispatch News, "Alaska's minimum wage increase to take effect in late February, December 31, 2014
  5. 5.0 5.1 Alaska Division of Elections, "Ballot language," accessed August 19, 2014
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  7. State of Alaska Division of Elections, "Initiative Petition Bill Language," accessed August 19, 2014
  8. 8.0 8.1 Alaskans for a Fair Minimum Wage, "Minimum Wage FAQ," accessed August 19, 2014
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee do not have a state minimum wage requirement, so the federal wage of $7.25 is applied.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Arkansas, Georgia and Wyoming all have state minimum wages that are less than the federal minimum wage. When state minimum wage is less than the current federal wage of $7.25, the federal rate supersedes the state wage.
  11. Alaska Dispatch News, "Backers of vote to increase minimum wage in Alaska submit petition signatures," January 17, 2014
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 News Miner, "Interior Alaska legislators offer views on Alaska ballot measures," October 7, 2014
  13. KQED, "Shifting Stance, Some GOP Candidates Back State Minimum Wage Hikes," September 24, 2014
  14. State of Alaska, "Campaign Disclosure: Forms," accessed October 25, 2014
  15. Alaska Dispatch News, "Debate on ballot measure to hike minimum wage gets audience, despite lack of organized opposition," July 31, 2014
  16. Congressional Budget Office, "The Effects of a Minimum-Wage Increase on Employment and Family Income," February 2014
  17. Economic Policy Institute, "Raising America’s Pay: Why It’s Our Central Economic Policy Challenge," June 4, 2014
  18. Institute for Research and Labor Employment, "Minimum Wage Effects Across State Borders: Estimates Using Contiguous Counties," November 2010
  19. Employment Policies Institute, "Just Getting By? Income Dependence on Minimum Wage Jobs," March 2011
  20. National Bureau of Economic Research, "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Review of Evidence from the New Minimum Wage Research," November 2006
  21. Daily News-Miner, "Minimum wage hike is overdue: Measure 3 will bring wage back to a more livable level in Alaska," October 29, 2014
  22. Juneau Empire, "Empire Editorial: Vote yes on 3, no on 4," October 30, 2014
  23. Frontiersman, "Minimum wage hike necessary," October 28, 2014
  24. The Alaska State Legislature, "Homepage," accessed April 22, 2014
  25. ABC 7 News, Denver, "Alaska legal pot vote pushed to fall; would make it third state to legalize recreational marijuana," April 21, 2014
  26. Liberty Voice, "Alaska Will Vote on the Legalization of Recreational Marijuana in November," July 20, 2014