On Nov. 8, 2016, the citizens of Maine voted to increase the minimum wage to $9 in 2017 and to $12 by 2020 from the previous $7.50 per hour. On Jan. 1, 2017, this policy was officially enacted and went into effect.
The Maine referendum will raise the minimum wage in the state to $9 in 2017 and then continue to increase it by $1 every year until 2020, when it will be tied to inflation, according to an article published by the Bangor Daily News (BDN).
For workers that rely on tips, the goal is that their hourly wage will be at $12 by 2024, which raises concerns from those in the restaurant business. To achieve this, food prices will need to increase and workers fear that this will deter guests from leaving an appropriate tip. Also, some businesses fear that they may not be able to stay open with wages increasing. For these tipped workers, the referendum states that their minimum wage will be set at $5 in 2017 (it was previously at $3.75), and then increase by $1 until 2024.
The vote came as a surprise to many on both sides of the political spectrum. However, the result of this election sets Maine up as a state with one of the highest minimum wages in the nation. Three other western states also voted for minimum wage increases.
The Maine referendum raised the minimum wage in the state to $9 in 2017, and will continue to increase by $1 every year until 2020, then it will be tied to inflation.