Virginia House votes down Senate minimum wage increase

Issue polling remains unclear, Center for Politics spokesperson Geoffrey Skelley says


There are currently 21 states and the District of Columbia that offer a minimum wage higher than the federal level. A proposal to implement such a policy in Virginia was voted down by the Republican-controlled House of Delegates Thursday.

A Virginia House of Delegates committee voted against a bill Thursday which would have raised the state minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.25 by 2015. Initially proposed by Sen. Dave Marsden, D-Centreville, the legislation cleared the state Senate the previous Tuesday.

The Senate split 20-20 along party lines, with Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam breaking the tie. Clark Mercer, Northam’s chief-of-staff, said Senate Democrats passed the bill because they believe raising the minimum wage is an essential step in addressing income inequality and helping low-income families.

“An increase in the minimum wage is a critical step to ensuring that all working Virginians can provide for their families in meaningful ways,” Mercer said in an email.

Matthew Moran, spokesperson for House speaker William Howell, said Republicans oppose the bill because an increase in the minimum wage would actually hurt those working at those rates.

“We felt that increasing the minimum wage would result in fewer positions for those who work minimum wage type jobs,” Moran said.

Moran said some Republicans are wary of the potential impact an increase in the minimum wage could have on state businesses, adding that it might hurt a still recovering economy.

Public opinion is inconsistent when it comes to minimum wage rates, Center for Politics spokesperson Geoffrey Skelley said.

“Polls on [increasing] the minimum wage are unclear,” he said. “[Although] people are generally more in favor than not … they have conflicting responses.”

Skelley said moderates tend not to be outspoken about the minimum wage issue, compared to Democrats and Republicans. As a result, it’s hard to judge how the bill’s defeat will affect the parties’ standings with swing voters.

Skelley said the national attention the minimum wage issue has received is evidence of how Democrats feel the issue plays with their electorate. President Barack Obama just last month called on Congress to increase the national minimum wage rate during the State of the Union address.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 21 states and the District of Columbia have chosen to adopt minimum wages above the federal rate by the start of the new year.

Published February 16, 2014 in FP test, News

The Cavalier Daily welcomes thoughtful, respectful and relevant comments that contribute to a public dialogue. In order to maintain a high level of discourse, all comments must be approved by our moderator. For more information, view our full comment policy.

Comments powered by Disqus

Powered by powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News