House committee kills minimum wage increase

money-newlinksA voice vote in the House Commerce and Labor committee killed a measure to increase the minimum wage in Virginia. The bill, SB 590 (Sen. Dave Marsden, D-Fairfax), would have raised the state minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.25 incrementally over the next two years.

Hardworking Virginians deserve a decent minimum wage that keeps up with the cost of living,” said Democratic House Leader David Toscano. “Democrats will continue to fight for fair wages that working Virginians deserve and need to support their families.”

“It’s time to increase the minimum wage for Virginia workers,” said Del. Ken Plum, D-Fairfax. “Our current minimum wage is below the 1968 value of the minimum wage, and if we had kept up with inflation, it would be $10.55. We will continue to work for a decent minimum wage in Virginia.”

Similar measures sponsored by House Democrats were previously defeated by House Republicans: HB 32 (Morrissey) and HB 536 (Plum).

Raising the minimum wage would help over 123,000 working Virginians meet the most basic needs, say Democratic supporters of the measure, decreasing the strain on public assistance programs — especially from those who hold low-wage restaurant or retail jobs.

Studies suggest that more than half of fast-food workers rely on some form of government assistance. Studies have also shown that minimum wage workers supply, on average, more than half of their families’ weekly earnings. Increasing the minimum wage would make it easier for these workers to support their families, reducing their need for government handouts.

“Raising the minimum wage will stimulate our economy and provide greater economic security for more than 123,000 Virginians. This bill would actually grow Virginia’s economy and create jobs,” said Sen. Marsden. “Unfortunately, thanks to the Republicans, thousands of low-wage workers will continue to rely on food stamps, tax-credits and other government assistance — and our economy will continue to be sluggish.”


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