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A Minimum Wage Rise Would Reduce Poverty and Improve Alaska!


CNS NewsLast month, advocates submitted a ballot measure to raise Alaska’s minimum wage from $11.73 to $15 per hour over three years. This initiative has major public health and community well-being effects beyond finances. It helps all Alaskans become healthier and more resilient by addressing poverty’s root causes.

Alaska last raised its minimum wage above inflation in 2014 through a ballot initiative that passed with 70% support. The ballot measure would gradually raise the state’s minimum wage to $13 in 2025, $14 in 2026, and $15 in 2027. In addition to hourly wage increases, the initiative requires paid sick leave and prohibits employers from forcing workers to attend political or religious meetings.

The initiative sponsors estimate that this change will affect over 32,000 Alaskan workers’ wages by 2027. As proponents have shown, raising the minimum wage encourages wage increases for workers earning slightly above it, so the initiative would affect more workers.

This initiative is needed and possibly overdue in a state with a high cost of living, poverty, and homelessness. Raising the minimum wage may not solve Anchorage’s housing crisis, but it’s a start. Many low-wage workers struggle to find stable housing, which can lead to poor health.

A Minimum Wage Rise Would Reduce Poverty and Improve Alaska!

The minimum wage increase initiative recognizes the interconnectedness of economic security and community health. Poverty and financial instability affect health outcomes, with low-income families experiencing higher stress, slower healthcare access, and a higher risk of chronic diseases. A minimum wage increase could force businesses to lay off workers or close, according to opponents.

Small businesses may feel the impact of wage increases more than corporations, but research shows that moderate minimum wage increases, especially when implemented gradually and accompanied by supportive policies for small businesses, rarely affect employment levels. A higher minimum wage can boost consumer spending and job creation by giving low-wage workers more money, benefiting businesses and the economy.

We invest in our communities’ economic well-being to improve Alaska’s long-term health. A stable family can afford nutritious food, safe housing, and time together because parents don’t work multiple low-wage jobs. People and communities have lower chronic illness rates, lower health care costs, and better quality of life.

A $15 minimum wage could improve health equity in Alaska. By ensuring all workers earn a living wage, we can address systemic inequalities that cause these disparities, creating a healthier community for everyone. Since we’re the only state with a guaranteed basic income, Alaska has long supported unique economic initiatives.

A Minimum Wage Rise Would Reduce Poverty and Improve Alaska!

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Alaska has a unique opportunity to prioritize economic justice and public health by raising the minimum wage. Supporting the $15 minimum wage initiative improves Alaskans’ economic prospects and builds healthier, more resilient communities for future generations.

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