CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A bill that would raise the minimum wage in West Virginia is headed to the floor of the House of Delegates for consideration. A changed version of the bill passed the House Finance Committee Thursday afternoon.
The original bill called for the minimum wage to increase from the current $7.25 an hour to $7.85 an hour July 1st and then rise again to $8.25 in July 2015. The new bill, passed by the committee Thursday, would increase the wage to $8.00 beginning Jan. 1, 2015 and then increase it to $8.75 an hour Jan. 1, 2016.
Del. Doug Skaff, D-Kanawha, said he favored the change because it gives businesses more time to prepare.
“I think it takes into consideration many things in planning from a business standpoint,” Skaff said.
It’s estimated the increase would help about 100,000 state residents. The state says 26 percent of all jobs in West Virginia are minimum wage jobs.
Del. Daryl Cowles, R-Morgan, expressed concern of the increase in cost to the state.
“What programs would be cut based on the fiscal note that’s attached to the bill?” Cowles asked. “The (state) Division of Labor wants to hire 10 or 11 new workers just to run compliance on the bill.”
The measure now heads to the full House for consideration.
Cowles and Del. Marty Gearheart, R-Mercer, were the only committee members to vote against the bill.