he nonpartisan, not-for-profit Ad Astra Institute (AAI) has just released a report suggesting that the economic impact of minimum wage increases in Kansas would likely be positive for workers, businesses, employment and economic development. The report, “Impacts of Minimum Wage Increases in Kansas: A Background Report,” estimates the number of Kansas workers likely to be affected by increases in the minimum wage, summarizes theories of economic impact and reviews actual effects of minimum wage increases in other states and cities.

The Kansas minimum wage of $2.65 per hour applies to workers in job categories not protected by the Federal minimum wage ($5.85). The study documents this under-examined category of workers at the lowest end of the wage spectrum.

To help determine how minimum wage increases would affect Kansas businesses and local economies, the study draws on evidence from states and cities that have raised their minimum wages above the Federal level. Such locally driven increases became common over the past decade, due largely to the stagnation of the Federal minimum wage at $5.15 an hour. Eroded by inflation, and having lost nearly 20% of its purchasing power, the Federal minimum was finally increased in July 2007 to $5.85 an hour. Even so, 33 states have already raised their statewide minimum wages above the current $5.85 level. Read More