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Arkansas Minimum Wage Initiative, Issue 5 (2014)

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Issue 5
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Type:Initiated state statute
Referred by:Citizens
Topic:Minimum wage
Status:Approved Approveda
2014 measures
Seal of Arkansas.svg.png
November 4
Issue 1 Approveda
Issue 2 Approveda
Issue 3 Approveda
Issue 4 Defeatedd
Issue 5 Approveda
PollsFull text
The Arkansas Minimum Wage Initiative, Issue 5 was on the November 4, 2014 ballot in Arkansas as an initiated state statute, where it was overwhelmingly approved. Upon its approval, the measure was set to increase the state’s minimum wage from $6.25 to $7.50 per hour on January 1, 2015; to $8 on January 1, 2016; and to $8.50 per hour on January 1, 2017.[1]

Election results

Below are the official, certified election results:

Arkansas Issue 5
Approveda Yes 548,789 65.94%

Election results via: Arkansas Secretary of State

Text of measure

Ballot title

The following popular name and ballot title were certified for circulation by the Arkansas Attorney General:[2]

Popular Name:

An Act to Increase the Arkansas Minimum Wage

Ballot Title:

An act to amend the Arkansas Code concerning the state minimum wage; the act would raise the current state minimum wage from six dollars and twenty-five cents ($6.25) per hour to seven dollars and fifty cents ($7.50) per hour on January 1, 2015, to eight dollars ($8.00) per hour on January 1, 2016, and to eight dollars and fifty cents ($8.50) per hour on January 1, 2017.[3]


Minimum wage in Arkansas

The first Arkansas minimum wage of $1 per hour was implemented in the state on January 1, 1969. Since then, the minimum wage had been raised 22 times prior to the passage of this measure, and had been set at its previous rate of $6.25 per hour since October 1, 2006. Arkansas is one of three states whose minimum wage is currently lower than the federal minimum wage of $7.25.[4] When a state's minimum wage is lower than the federal minimum wage, the federal minimum wage is the functional minimum wage.

2014 minimum wages


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

State 2014 Minimum wage State 2014 Minimum wage
Alabama $7.25[5] Nebraska $7.25
Alaska $7.75 Nevada $8.25
Arizona $7.90 New Hampshire $7.25
Arkansas $6.25[6] 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[6] 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[5]
Iowa $7.25 South Dakota $7.25
Kansas $7.25 Tennessee $7.25[5]
Kentucky $7.25 Texas $7.25
Louisiana $7.25[5] 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[5] Wyoming $5.15[6]
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


"Sandra Jackson - Home Health Aid," a campaign video put out in support of Issue 5 by Raise the Wage.

The measure was sponsored by Give Arkansas a Raise Now.[1]



  • Give Arkansas a Raise Now (GARN)
  • Arkansas Interfaith Alliance
  • NAACP, Arkansas Chapter
  • AFL-CIO[7]
  • Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance[8]




According to a report on Issue 5 published by The Public Policy Center of the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Research and Extension, arguments in support of Issue 5 included:[4]

What do supporters say?
  • Working Arkansans deserve a living wage to support their families.
  • Raising the minimum wage would benefit businesses by lowering employee turnover and improving productivity.
  • Raising the minimum wage would bring families out of poverty.[3]

—The Public Policy Center of the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Research and Extension

Campaign contributions

Two ballot question committees raised a total of $471,010 in support of Issue 5 as of December 6, 2014.[12]

Total campaign cash Campaign Finance Ballotpedia.png
as of December 6, 2014
Category:Ballot measure endorsements Support: $471,010
Circle thumbs down.png Opposition: $0

Ballot question committee info:

Ballot question committee Amount raised Amount spent
Arkansas Interfaith Alliance $449,815 $449,815
Give Arkansas a Raise Now $21,195 $20,646
Total $471,010 $470,461

Top contributors:

Donor Amount
National Education Association $50,000
Laborers Political League Education Fund $50,000
American Federation of Government Employees $30,000
IUPAT $27,500




According to a report on Issue 5 published by The Public Policy Center of the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Research and Extension, arguments in opposition to Issue 5 included:[4]

What do opponents say?

  • Increasing the minimum wage will result in fewer jobs.
  • Businesses would have two choices, either raising prices or laying off workers.
  • Raising the minimum wage will hurt the hospitality industry and first-time employees.[3]

—The Public Policy Center of the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Research and Extension

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 concludes 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.[13]

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 conclude that despite increasing economic productivity, wages for most workers have stagnated or declined since 1979. They say this has 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 mean "taxes and transfers," and by "predistribution," they mean "policies that impact the wages workers receive in the labor market," such as the minimum wage.[14]
  • Institute for Research and Labor Employment: The study looks at minimum wage differences between contiguous counties located in different states. These counties represent good control groups, according to the authors, since there is a difference in base wages between them, but many similar characteristics as well. By looking at counties across a 15 year timespan, the authors conclude that "These estimates suggest no detectable employment losses from the kind of minimum wage increases we have seen in the United States."[15]

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 examines "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."[16]
  • 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, conclude 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."[17]


Opponents of the measure filed a lawsuit over the petition signature deadline controversy, hoping to have the measure thrown off the ballot. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Jackson Thomas Stevens Jr. of Pulaski County. The plaintiff claimed the state's petition deadline of July 7 was three days too late in order to be submitted at least four months before the election, as required by state law. Four months to the day before the November election was the Fourth of July, a national holiday.[18][19]

The Arkansas Supreme Court court ultimately ruled that the measure should appear on the ballot. Since the deadline occurred on a federal holiday, the Fourth of July, the court agreed that, based on election law, the deadline must be "the next day which is not a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday."[20][21][22][19]


See also: Polls, 2014 ballot measures
  • According to a poll commissioned in May 2014 by the supporting group, Give Arkansas A Raise Now, most Arkansans supported raising the minimum wage. Opinion Research Associates provided 400 registered voters a brief description of the initiative, with 77 percent of respondents supporting the effort.[23]
  • A poll by "Talk Business & Politics" conducted in April 2014 found that 79 percent of voters supported increasing the minimum wage. The question asked of respondents was as follows:[24]
Q. Advocates are also seeking to place a measure on the ballot to increase the state minimum wage in Arkansas. The proposal would increase the minimum hourly wage for workers in the state from $6.25 to $8.50 over a three-year period. If the election were held today and the measure were on the ballot, how would you vote?[3]

—Talk Business & Politics

Arkansas Issue 5 (2014)
Poll Support OpposeUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Talk Business-Hendrix College Poll
4/3/2014 - 4/4/2014
Talk Business Research & Hendrix College
AVERAGES 74% 21.5% 4.5% +/-2.6 1,571.5
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing the initiative process in Arkansas

The Arkansas Attorney General approved the measure proposal for circulation on January 3, 2014.[7] Initiative supporters had to collect at least 62,507 valid signatures from registered voters by July 7, 2014, in order to place the initiated state statute on the ballot.[25] Supporters announced at the beginning of June that they had collected between 72,000 and 75,000 signatures to place the measure on the ballot.[11] Supporters claimed to have submitted 77,288 signatures by the prescribed deadline.[26]

On July 18, 2014, Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin announced that over 3,000 of the 64,135 signatures submitted had been invalidated. It was later announced that the petition was short by 15,107 signatures.[27] However, having met the initial deadline, the group had until August 18, 2014, to submit enough additional signatures to meet the required total. Supporters submitted an additional round of signatures by the prescribed deadline, and the measure was certified for the ballot on September 3, 2014.[28][29][30]

Deadline controversy

Opponents of the alcoholic beverage initiative, Issue 4, Let Local Communities Decide For Themselves, asked the secretary of state's office to stop accepting further petition forms from supporters for that initiative. They argued that the first batch of signatures should have been filed on July 4, which would have been four months prior to the November 4 election. The states's deadline was July 7. The secretary of state's office reviewed the claim. Had the secretary of state agreed with the opposition's point and invalidated that initiative's signatures, it would have also affected this measure regarding the minimum wage, which also submitted its first batch of signatures on July 7.[31][32]

On July 22, Secretary of State Mark Martin (R) defended the signature filing deadline, saying that July 7 was set as the deadline because it was the first business day after July 4, a federal holiday. In a statement, Martin's office described the practice of rolling the signature deadline forward to the next business day if the original date falls on a holiday as "standard practice since Amendment 7 went into effect in 1925." However, the office also stated they would be reviewing the law to determine if there was an issue.[33]

David Couch, chairman of Let Arkansas Decide, which is supporting the alcoholic beverage amendment, pointed out that Arkansas Code Annotated 7-1-108 and Amendment 51 both state, “If an election law deadline occurs on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the deadline shall be the next day which is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday.” However, attorney Elizabeth Robben Murray for the opposing group Let Local Communities Decide for Themselves argued that Amendment 51, which concerns voter registration, does not apply to initiatives or referendums.[33] Both initiatives were ultimately given until August 18, 2014, to submit additional signatures.[34]

Similar measures

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

See also

Suggest a link

External links

Additional reading


  1. 1.0 1.1 Memphis Business Journal, “Attorney General clears way for Arkansas minimum wage ballot initiative,” January 6, 2013
  2. Attorney General website, "Response to request for certification of Minimum Wage Initiative," accessed March 5, 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 The Public Policy Center of the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Research and Extension, "AN ACT TO INCREASE THE ARKANSAS MINIMUM WAGE," accessed October 14, 2014
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee do not have a state minimum wage requirement, so the federal wage of $7.25 is applied.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 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.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Arkansas News, "AG certifies ballot proposal to raise minimum wage," January 3, 2014
  8. Give Arkansas a Raise Now, "About," accessed June 20, 2014
  9. KATV, “Democrats seek to win Arkansas with minimum wage platform," December 30, 2013
  10. The Kansas City Star, "Hutchinson, Cotton to support minimum wage jump," September 5, 2014 (dead link)
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, "Backers: Pay issue signings gathered," June 3, 2014
  12. Arkansas Ethics Commission, "LOCAL-OPTION/BALLOT/LEGISLATIVE QUESTION COMMITTEE FILINGS," accessed December 6, 2014
  13. Congressional Budget Office, "The Effects of a Minimum-Wage Increase on Employment and Family Income," February 2014
  14. Economic Policy Institute, "Raising America’s Pay: Why It’s Our Central Economic Policy Challenge," June 4, 2014
  15. Institute for Research and Labor Employment, "Minimum Wage Effects Across State Borders: Estimates Using Contiguous Counties," November 2010
  16. Employment Policies Institute, "Just Getting By? Income Dependence on Minimum Wage Jobs," March 2011
  17. National Bureau of Economic Research, "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Review of Evidence from the New Minimum Wage Research," November 2006
  18. Arkansas Money & Politics, "Lawsuit filed over Arkansas minimum wage measure," September 2014
  19. 19.0 19.1 Arkansas Business, "Judge: Signatures OK in Arkansas Minimum Wage Case," October 10, 2014 (dead link)
  20. Arkansas Online, "Oral arguments set over alcohol sales measure," September 11, 2014
  21. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named c
  22. ABC 7 KATV, "Ark. Supreme Court denies challenge to statewide alcohol ballot initiative," accessed October 16, 2014
  23. Give Arkansas a Raise Now, "Poll Shows Overwhelming Support for Increasing the Minimum Wage," May 7, 2014
  24. Talk Business & Politics, "Minimum Wage Proposal Popular, Medical Marijuana Attitudes Evenly Split," April 8, 2014
  25. Arkansas Secretary of State, "2014 Initiatives and Referenda: Facts and Information for the 2014 General Election," accessed March 5, 2014
  26. The Bellingham Herald, "Minimum wage, alcohol sales petitions submitted," July 7, 2014
  27. Arkansas News, "Minimum wage proposal needs 15,107 more signatures," July 23, 2014
  28. Associated Press, "Arkansas alcohol, minimum wage ballot measures fall short of signatures; given 30 more days," July 18, 2014
  29. The Sacramento Bee, "Democrats focus on wage hike, private option," August 23, 2014 (dead link)
  30., "UPDATE: Minimum Wage Makes Nov. Ballot in Arkansas," September 3, 2014
  31. Associated Press, "Group Asks State To Block Alcohol Measure, Claims Deadline Missed," July 21, 2014
  32. Times Record, "Election 2014: Opponents Of Statewide Alcohol Sales Say Supporters Missed Deadline," July 21, 2014
  33. 33.0 33.1 Times Record, "Election 2014: Secretary Of State Defends Filing Deadline For Petitions," July 22, 2014
  34. Associated Press, "Arkansas alcohol, minimum wage ballot measures fall short of signatures; given 30 more days," July 18, 2014