Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) said Monday he is tentatively supporting a ballot initiative to raise the minimum wage in Arkansas to $8.50 an hour by 2017.
But Pryor, in an interview with Arkansas television station KATV, said he was not supporting a proposal by the Obama administration to hike the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2015.
“I haven’t seen all the details, but my understanding is, I think they take three years and gradually raise it up to $8.50 and it think that’s a pretty reasonable approach,” Pryor told KATV. “I think that would be good for Arkansas. I think that would be good for people in this state. We have a lot of minimum wage people in this state. I think it would be good and it would help the standard of living and what not, so if that does come together, I probably would support that.”
Give Arkansas A Raise Now is the group pushing to put a minimum wage increase on the ballot in 2014. The group announced their effort earlier this month.
For the wage hike to make it on the ballot, the wording of the initiative must first be approved by Arkansas’ attorney general. Organizers will also have to collect 62,000 signatures by June 30.
Democrats see a minimum wage hike increase as a winning issue in 2014 and there’s reason to believe this. Polling has shown bipartisan support among voters for increasing the minimum wage. In recent speeches, President Barack Obama himself has repeatedly called for an increase in the minimum wage.
“It puts Republicans on the wrong side of an important value issue when it comes to fairness,” Obama administration senior adviser Dan Preiffer told The New York Times. “You can make a very strong case that this will be a helpful issue for Democrats in 2014. But the goal here is to actually get it done. That’s why the president put it on the agenda.”