Good news, y'all: Oregon's minimum wage will rise from $8.40/hour to $8.50 on January 1, 2011. That's thanks for Measure 25, which squeaked past voters in 2002 and increases minimum wage as inflation increases. "It's a great law, it's working very well. It's solved the problem of large, unexpected jumps in the minimum wage that lawyers don't like," says Chuck Sheketoff of the Oregon Center for Public Policy. "It's made it so minimum wage is not a political hot potato in Oregon anymore."

Okay, here's the bad news: According to the Sheketoff, a full-time minimum wage worker will earn $17,680 under the new wage. If that person is the only breadwinner for a family of three, that family still falls below the federal poverty line.

But hey, our minimum wage is better than 48 other states—only Washington's is higher.