Valdosta Daily Times

Business

February 2, 2014

The Business of Legislation

Issues that could affect the economy this year

(Continued)

VALDOSTA — Minimum wage increase

Democrats, generally speaking, want to see the minimum wage raised, with the dominant number being $10.10 per hour, though a few have suggested raising it higher. As in previous raises in the 2000s and the 1990s, it would most likely be introduced in several steps.

Republicans, generally speaking, want to see it stay where it is, though a few have suggested abolishing it all together. Their main argument is that raising it would reduce the number of jobs available.

“Here’s the problem: For many, many years minimum-wage jobs were ideally sought by either high school-age kids or kids who have just graduated from high school and hadn’t decided what to do. Now, we’ve seen with the big change in manufacturing, the global economy and the rise of service jobs in the U.S., there’s a large sector of employees who, through no fault of their own, have to rely on minimum-wage jobs to support themselves. That wasn’t always the case. It was usually a supplementary job for, again, high school kids and young people, not really the type of job people needed to support their families on.

“The economy has changed and as a result, I think, the minimum wage needs to be looked at either through a system of tiering or trying to figure out how minimum-wage jobs can be more fruitful for those who are trying to support their families.”

Though there’s been a lot of talk of it, Yehl doesn’t see an increase passing if it is introduced.

“I don’t see the House approving it, even though it’s an election year. As long as your base is satisfied with the way things are, there’s little impetus for change. Now, I may eat those words 10 months from now.”

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