If you work a job that pays you minimum wage here in Washington State, then you may be shocked to know that beginning January 1, 2017, your paycheck will jump by $1.53* per hour. That's right, if you currently getting paid $9.47, your new hourly wage will now be $11! If you are an adult with one child, the full-time hourly wage you would need to earn just to make ends meet, is $21.89, according to the Living Wage Calculator for Yakima County, so making $11 an hour is a drop in the bucket.

$11 an hour? It almost seems "too good to be true".

Working a job that pays $11 an hour doesn't seem like much to some people, but I know from first-hand experience what it is like working a minimum wage job while raising a small child. As an adult, knowing that you only possess minimum skills to have a job is quite difficult on your psyche; you are fraught with a lot of worry and financial stress of trying to work more than one job (which in my case, lead to overeating, a bit of over drinking, and in some cases, a loss of weight because of stress). I ended up procrastinating about my own personal health needs because of being bogged down worrying about the pile of bills growing on the table. I know what it's like to once again have to make that monthly call to a bill's customer service center so that you can set up a "payment arrangement plan" because you didn't earn enough to pay all of the bills on time and in full. I know what it's like to hit up the "payday loan" place so that you can get that rent or car note paid on time. NO. FUN. INDEED. Wah, wah, sob story, I know, but it's real one and it's mine and I'm gonna tell it!

Let's keep it real, the cost of rent keeps going up every year, the cost of groceries keep going up every year, the cost of gas, clothes, shoes, and school supplies keep going up, but yet the hourly wage barely goes up six cents a year! How are you supposed to make ends meet without getting two, three, or in some case four side jobs? This is no way to live. Some might feel as if they should just give up on life altogether. How tragic!

To those who say that minimum wage earners should just go get a college education, guess what--that is NOT an option for some people! Oh yeah, the cost of college tuition keeps going up, too, exponentially! Without a basic associate's college degree, it is VERY hard for a lot of people to go out here and get hired for a job that offers a salary that is remotely higher than minimum wage. You will get laughed right out the door and your resume tossed in the trash quicker than you get sent a text of LOLcats and Rick Rolls!

Opposers of the minimum wage increase say that they will have to raise prices on the products and services that they provide or that it's too hard on them as a business owner to pay their employees a living wage. They say that the youth won't have a chance to get a job.. They make comments that it's not fair to the people already making more than minimum wage. *clutches pearls* How dare employees want to make a decent wage so that they can avoid working two, three, or in some cases four jobs just to keep from living under a bridge near N 1st St! *storms off in a flurry of scoffs*

If I ran a company and I could afford it, I would try my darnedest to figure out ways that I as an employer could cough up just a few more coins an hour to pay someone who's doing work that is vital to my business' success, than to see that same person have to be dependent on food stamps, W.I.C. and other government programs. But that's just my own personal opinion, which is based on having been that minimum wage employee due to unfortunate circumstances. The minimum wage should have already been set to keep up with inflation. *sips tea with Kermit the Frog*

*Primary supporters of the minimum wage increase (Ballot Initiative 1433) included United States Senators Patty Murray and Bernie Sanders, as well as Washington State Governor Jay Inslee and United States Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, and dozens of organizations and unions.