Senate committee blocks minimum wage increase

virginia general assemblyThe Republican-controlled Senate Commerce and Labor Committee failed to pass two measures that would have seen an increase in Virginia’s minimum wage and, by extension, would have provided relief to thousands of working Virginians.

Senator Dave Marsden’s (D-Fairfax) SB785 would have seen an incremental increase to the Virginia minimum wage, to arrive at $11.25/hour by July 1, 2020. Senator Rosalyn Dance’s (D-Petersburg) SB978 would have gradually increased the minimum wage get up to $15/hour by July 1, 2019.

Said Senator Marsden, “We just can’t keep having people rely on government subsidies and food stamps when raising the minimum wage is a very real action that we could take to help address the fact that far too many hard-working Virginia families still live under the poverty line. The time has come for us to demonstrate some leadership on this issue.”

Said Senator Dance, “It is 2017 now. Nobody can support a family on $7.25 an hour. Costs of living are going up across our Commonwealth while workers are desperate for a way to make ends meet. Women and people of color who suffer the most, but this is an issue that affects all working Virginians. The time has come for a change. We have to reward hard work. I challenge all of my colleagues who did not support this fine piece of legislation to try to spend a week living at the level of our friends and neighbors who scrape by living on $7.25 an hour, and then come back and vote NAY on this bill again.”

Said Senator Mamie Locke (D-Hampton), “Republicans are supposed to be the ‘family values’ party, but they refuse to lift a finger to help working families get by. I don’t know how my colleagues reconcile their rhetoric with the reality that every day, working Virginians barely make enough to get back and forth to work and eat — much less pay for child care or send their kids off to college. The Democratic Caucus is committed to making this case to the people of Virginia because it’s not enough to simply say you support families. You’ve got to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.”

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