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Last updateFri, 22 Nov 2019 12am

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    Thursday, November 21, 2019-4:20:51A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Minimum wage increase good for everyone, says Kilili

(Office of the CNMI Congressional Delegate) — The federal minimum wage goes up to $6.55 per hour in the Northern Mariana Islands on Friday, a change that is good for everyone, according to U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan.

“The more money that workers have to spend, the better off our entire economy will be,” Sablan said. “I know that Congress’ decision to increase the minimum wage beginning in 2007 was criticized, but today we have higher individual incomes in the Marianas, more U.S. workers are joining the workforce, and our overall economy has shown positive growth.

“Those are successes we want to see continue.”

The locally set minimum wage was $3.05 per hour in 2007 when a newly elected Democratic majority in the U.S. Congress decided to take over and began raising the Marianas wage to match the national minimum.

Friday’s increase of 50¢ per hour is the seventh increase since then. Another 50¢ increase in September 2017 and then a 20¢ increase a year later will bring the Marianas up to the national standard of $7.25 per hour.

Congress also ordered the Government Accountability Office to monitor the impact of the minimum wage increases to be sure that the Marianas economy was not hurt. GAO has reported that raising the minimum has allowed workers’ incomes to stay ahead of price inflation over time and that job losses, which can result from wage hikes, were attributable to a variety of factors during the period. GAO will report on the minimum wage again next April.

Congressman Sablan has also cosponsored legislation to continue increasing the national minimum wage to $12 per hour over a four year period.