Prior to 1996, the minimum wage was rarely an issue addressed on state ballots. Since 1996 however, the minimum wage has increasingly appeared on state ballots, and could appear on the ballot in a record 11 states in 2016. The first time the minimum wage appeared on a state ballot was in 1912 in Ohio.

Although not set on the usual April 15 date this year, the deadline to file federal tax returns is quickly approaching. Millions of people across the country will receive tax refunds and face decisions about how to spend the money. According to the annual Tax Returns Survey released in February, 49.2 percent of those expecting a refund planned to save the money rather than spend it immediately, the highest percentage in the survey’s history.

The past few years – particularly following the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri and subsequent investigations – have brought increased attention to a mounting problem: jailing the poor when they can’t pay fines and fees ordered by courts. This practice has been called the “criminalization of poverty”.

According to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau, real median household income in Wyoming was higher last year than it was before the Great Recession - one of only 13 states that can make the claim. When adjusted for inflation, annual income in Wyoming has grown slightly (by $33) since 2007 to $55,690 in 2014 - above the U.S. median of $53,657. For the country as a whole, inflation-adjusted median household income fell by $3,700 - or 6.5 percent - from 2007 to 2014.

According to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau, real median household income in South Dakota was higher last year than it was before the Great Recession - one of only 13 states that can make the claim. When adjusted for inflation, annual income in South Dakota has grown by $52 since 2007 to $53,053 in 2014 - slightly below the U.S. median of $53,657. For the country as a whole, inflation-adjusted median household income fell by $3,700 - or 6.5 percent - from 2007 to 2014. 

According to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau, real median income in Nebraska was higher last year than it was before the Great Recession - one of only 13 states that can make the claim. When adjusted for inflation, annual income in Nebraska has grown by $722 since 2007 to $56,870 in 2014 - above the U.S. median of $53,657. For the country as a whole, inflation-adjusted median household income fell by $3,700 - or 6.5 percent - from 2007 to 2014. 

According to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau, real median household income in Minnesota was higher last year than it was before the Great Recession - one of only 13 states that can make the claim. When adjusted for inflation, annual income in Minnesota has grown by $952 since 2007 to $67,244 in 2014 - above the U.S. median of $53,657. For the country as a whole, inflation-adjusted median household income fell by $3,700 - or 6.5 percent - from 2007 to 2014. 

According to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau, real median income in Maryland was higher last year than it was before the Great Recession - one of only 13 states that can make the claim. When adjusted for inflation, annual income in Maryland has grown by $1,227 since 2007 to $76,165 in 2014 - well above the U.S. median of $53,657 and the highest income level among all the states. For the country as a whole, inflation-adjusted median household income fell by $3,700 - or 6.5 percent - from 2007 to 2014. 

According to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau, real median household income in Montana was higher last year than it was before the Great Recession - one of only 13 states that can make the claim. When adjusted for inflation, annual income in Montana has grown by $1,256 since 2007 to $51,102 in 2014 - still below the U.S. median of $53,657. For the country as a whole, inflation-adjusted median household income fell by $3,700 - or 6.5 percent - from 2007 to 2014. 

According to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau, real median household income in Texas was higher last year than it was before the Great Recession - one of only 13 states that can make the claim. When adjusted for inflation, annual income in Texas has grown by $1,291 since 2007 to $53,875 in 2014 - just above the U.S. median of $53,657. For the country as a whole, inflation-adjusted median household income fell by $3,700 - or 6.5 percent - from 2007 to 2014. 

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