CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The House of Delegates gave overwhelming approval Wednesday afternoon to a bill that would increase the minimum wage.

House members approved the bill on an 89-5 vote. It would increase the current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour to $8.00 an hour beginning Jan. 1, 2015. The wage would then increase to $8.75 on Jan. 1, 2016.

Those speaking in favor of the bill said it would help 100,000 state residents. House Majority Whip Mike Caputo, D-Marion, said unfortunately more and more people are paid minimum wage.

“Back in my day the minimum wage was your summer job when you were in high school, when you were in college, to get you prepared for the workforce, that’s not true anymore,” Caputo said.

Del. Stephen Skinner, D-Jefferson, said it is past time to help the lower paid considering what lawmakers have done in recent years.

“We’ve cut taxes in West Virginia by over 300 million dollars and we’re waiting and we’re waiting and we’re waiting on the trickle down, well, it’s time for people on the bottom to get a little trickle up,” Skinner said.

His fellow Jefferson County delegate Tiffany Lawrence predicted a boost to the economy with the increase.

“Consensus tells us a raise in the minimum wage will provide an economic boom, let me say that again, an economic boom to this state,” she said.

Del. Jason Barrett, D-Berkeley, said the current minimum wage equates to $290 gross pay a week, which is $15,080 a year. The bill changes that to $350 a week, $18,200 a year.

“That will allow a single parent with one child to be above the poverty line. I think that’s the least we can do,” Barrett said.

The bill now heads to the state Senate for consideration.

 

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Comments

  • Paul Dobbins

    Maybe we can accomplish an improvement in our state economy by making it possible for those who are underemployed to make a living wage. Those who work 40+ hours per week are still underemployed, if they cannot afford housing, food and medical care for themselves and their families their work is undervalued by employers. If they are lifted just above the poverty level it is even worse for them because their benefits are cut to the detriment of their children.

  • Logical

    The market always adjusts to a minimum wage increase. So by raising the floor, people on the floor are still on the floor. The floor is now just closer to the ceiling (and everyone in between is closer to the floor). This makes no logical sense. The money you have in the bank and what you receive on a paycheck will now buy less. So who wins? Those collecting taxes on now higher priced items win! Hmmm, I wonder who voted for the increase?

  • work for a living

    If all the money we earn wasn't taken in federal taxes it would be a little better. Why is it I can barely afford the basics when people in welfare never working a day in their lives have better food...clothes....and vehicles then I own? I bust my ass to take care off my wife and daughter. I mean Heck my wife works top and wet can barely get the basics but a plus is no cable makes things a whole lot better.

  • Mike

    People who want higher wages need to speak with their employer, not the gov't. That, or learn skill that will make their labor worth more in the job market.

  • Christina

    This all just makes that lazier person who just wants to work the minimum more of an excuse to keep doing what their doing. No offense but why should jobs at McDonald's pay the same as some others just because the state raised the minimum wage.

  • Christina

    All raising the minimum wage will do is make others pay worth less. As well as make everything else go up. So what the point if u get .75cents more on the hour if everything else gets a price increase. If u think it won't u are as much if an idiot as those who came with this idea. Comments about bringing a change in poverty line for some is just smoke and mirrors to make the state look good.

  • New West Virginian

    We would also have more above minimum wage jobs if Obama and the EPA stopped the war on coal. Nick Rahall claims to support coal miners but voted in favor of the carbon tax alongside the liberal elites and the ghetto Democrats from the northern and West Coast cities.

  • New West Virginian

    This is a ridiculous idea. Minimum wage is NOT designed to support a single parent with multiple illegitimate kids. This just further removes the incentive toward personal responsibility and personal growth. You can just get a minimum wage job and have all the kids you want, they will all qualify for Medicaid and you can just demand more and more pay for doing the same work rather than try to get a better job.

    This might be a ploy to get West Virginia's congressional delegation to support Obama's plans to raise the national minimum wage because if we raise ours and Kentucky and Virginia don't we will be less competitive than our neighbors, so they will want Virginia and Kentucky to follow in these socialistic footsteps.

  • DWM

    Just what this state needs, a bill that will raise unemployment and put more people on the government dole.

    Hey it is working for the democrats at the federal level, why not try it at the state level? The more people relying on that government check, the more people to vote democrat.

  • SPRUCEKNOB

    I ask this question of you minimum wage supporters. If the minimum wage gets raised to $8.75 per hour than what should the pay of those already making $8.75 be raised to? I would like serious answers to this question as this will have to be addressed by all businesses if the minimum wage gets increased

    • Low Rider

      $10.00 per hour…and those now and $10 will want $12. There is a reason the capital rotunda was packed with Union members when this bill was introduced, a raise to the minimum wage results in wage inflation for "all of the hard working people" of WV (i.e. unions).

      Why not wait for the Federal Minimum wage to go up? Oh that's right, Congress isn't beholden to the labor unions like the democratic party of WV.

  • ViennaGuy

    - Del. Jason Barrett, D-Berkeley, said the current minimum wage equates to $290 gross pay a week, which is $15,080 a year. The bill changes that to $350 a week, $18,200 a year.

    “That will allow a single parent with one child to be above the poverty line. I think that’s the least we can do,” Barrett said. -

    Delegate Barrett didn't mention the taxes that come out the wage increase ... they won't be taking home $18,200 per year ... I wonder why he didn't mention that?

  • TB

    Attention Jason 412 - your line of thought is precisely why we have 1/3 of the population on assistance. Artificially influencing the market (labor and goods) ultimately drives more people onto assistance via less jobs available as well as a greater cost of goods and services. Do you really believe a bump of a dollar or so is going to ease the burden on the low skill/low wage earners?

  • Lee

    Bring back all the higher paying jobs that our government let go over sea's. Big business and our politicians are all out to line their pockets at the expense of the working people.

    • Mike

      We can only do this if we get rid of minimum wage laws.

  • Interesting123

    “We’ve cut taxes in West Virginia by over 300 million dollars and we’re waiting and we’re waiting and we’re waiting on the trickle down, well, it’s time for people on the bottom to get a little trickle up,” Skinner said.

    I think what he is meaning to say here is this is an indirect tax on business. If you're going to do this at least be honest.

  • Bunny

    Minimum definition - smallest amount; smallest quantity; small amount; least possible....
    Hellooooo they'll get more per hour but cut workers to minimum because of increase of minimum wage!