Legislature Acts on Louisiana Minimum Wage Increase
According to statistics, the federal poverty line income for a family of four in the state of Louisiana is an annual income of $27,750. Now if we were to take that figure and do the math based on a 40-hour work week, a person earning $27,750 to support his or her family of four would be earning an average hourly income of $13.34.
As you know the federal minimum wage is only $7.25 an hour. So a person earning minimum wage would not even earn enough to bring their family's income even close to "the poverty line".
That's why Governor Edwards and so many lawmakers have supported raising Louisiana's minimum wage. Currently, statistics show about half of a million Louisiana residents age 16 to 64 are living at or below the poverty level. In other words, they are earning minimum wage or just slightly higher.
But no matter how flat the pancake there are always two sides. For persons who hire employees an increase in the minimum wage could have a staggering effect on their businesses too. It's estimated that in Louisiana 92% of small business owners oppose increasing the minimum wage.
Their reasons for rejecting the idea are valid.
According to information from the National Federation of Independent Business, about 60% of small business owners say an increase in the minimum wage would have to cut back employee hours, and almost just as many, 58%, say they'd have to reduce their workforce.
Another thing to consider is this, currently 30 of the 50 states have a higher minimum wage than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. Arkansas has recently upped its state minimum wage to $11.00. Many pundits feel that as other states raise their wages it will continue to suck talent out of Louisiana and into other states.
As you can see the solution to the issue is multi-faceted and very complicated. And it won't be solved in this session of the legislature. That's because yesterday the House Labor Committee voted 9 to 5 against raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour. An increase in minimum wage was one of Governor Edward's goals for not only this, his final term, but it's been on his agenda ever since he's been in the Governor's office.
But maybe the more troublesome aspect of the whole minimum wage debate is this. The private sector is paying people. Most minimum wage jobs are in the government sector. Maybe that's why we seem to have so much trouble with our state agencies being run properly.
Meanwhile, the people who decide how much others are going to get paid for doing their jobs are asking for a 238% raise in their salary. Yeah, the legislature is considering a bill that would raise their pay to at least $40,000 which would put them well above the poverty line that so many of their constituents are struggling to reach.
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