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JUNEAU - Alaska's minimum wage will increase for the first time in more than six years beginning July 24, following Gov. Sarah Palin's signing of a related bill Thursday.
The state's minimum will increase from $7.15 an hour to $7.25, in step with a federal minimum wage increase also taking effect July 24. On Jan. 1, the state's minimum wage will increase again to $7.75.
More than 8,000 Alaskans earn less than $7.75 an hour.
"Alaska's lowest paid workers have gone far too long without a a raise," said Sen. Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage, a major sponsor. "Working for the minimum wage shouldn't mean working for a minimum quality of life, especially in these hard economic times."
Alaska's minimum wage was last raised in January 2003.
"Alaska's cost of living is one of the highest in the nation," Wielechowski said. "Despite this, 39 states have a higher minimum wage than Alaska, including California, Oregon, and Washington. For a state with Alaska's resources, this is unconscionable."