With the turn of the calendar, minimum wages will increase in 14 individual states with 12 of those coming as a result of legislation enacted within the past two years.  Both New York ($9/hour and $9.75 for fast food workers) and West Virginia ($8.75/hour) mandated increases to minimum wages effective December 31.  The 12 state increases taking effect today range from $8.00 per hour in Arkansas to a high of $10 an hour in both Massachusetts and California.  The others include Alaska ($9.75), Connecticut, Rhode Island and Vermont ($9.60), Nebraska ($9.00), South Dakota ($8.55), Hawaii and Michigan ($8.50) and Colorado ($8.31).  The increases in Colorado and South Dakota were triggered by being indexed to the cost of living.  Further, effective July 1, 2016, Washington, DC will jump to the lead with the highest minimum wage in the nation at $11.50 an hour, while Maryland will increase at that time to $8.75.  On August 1, Minnesota mandates $9.50/hour for large employers and $7.75 for small employers.