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.

  • American Bred

    Agree

  • American Bred

    I am republican, but I agree with the increase in min wage. As for flipp'n hamburgers, it's about all that's left on the job market unless you're a truck driver or in Oil & Gas. The job market is really reduced to just a few jobs and mostly in restaurants or retail establishments, the main min wage employers. Some folks want to work and make it on what they're paid. There are fewer skilled jobs available (those that pay above min wage), check out the want ads.

  • Mike

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

  • 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.

  • Aaron

    My numbers were based on 100% of the poverty level, not 138% as Obamacare originally mandated. Governor Tomblin elected to extend the coverage to 138%. I stand corrected on that.

    Which supports my analysis that while Democrats are worried about minimum wage reducing those who receive welfare is unfounded.

    That's why a family of 3 earning minimum wage plus various entitlement programs has more disposable income than a family of 4 making $60,000.00 per year.

    I guess the old adage that the poor get poorer isn't true after all.

  • Jason412

    Aaron, I know quite a few people who work minimum wage. Not a single one of them gets even 3 hours of OT a month, let alone 3 hours every week. Regardless, I think your math is a little off. For a family of 3 the income would have to be over $26,951, 138% of the FPL

    By my math, someone working 3 hours OT a week with 2 kids is nowhere near 138% FPL

    $8.75(min wage) x 1.5 = $13.13(OT pay) x 3(hours/week) = $39.39 x 52(weeks) = $2048.28(Overall OT pay) + $18,200(min wage salary) = $20,248.28

    So, even a single mother of 1 being paid $8.75/hour and working 3 hours OT/week wouldn't be ineligible under the expansion. A single mother of 2 would be $6,703 shy of being ineligible

    This is in reference to the medicaid expansion which began on January 1st.

    "For example, in 2013 a single mother with one child cannot make more than 35% of the FPL, or $5,429 in a year, to qualify for Medicaid coverage for herself. To put this in perspective, this mother would have to work less than 15 hours per week at minimum wage ($7.25/hour) to qualify for Medicaid.

    However, under the new expansion guidelines, this same mother will be able to earn up to $21,404 in a year and still qualify for Medicaid. That means she could work a full-time job making more than $10 an hour without having to be concerned about losing health insurance coverage for herself or her child."

  • Aaron

    That's an argument but empirical data shows that minimum wage increases do not drastically reduce those on welfare. At best, a minimum wage may reduce the amount of benefits individuals receive but it doesn’t remove a significant number of individuals from the welfare rolls. Over time, as eligibility guidelines are raised, the minimum wage has no effect on the number of welfare recipients.

    As to Medicaid eligibility and the minimum wage, that depends on the household size. If you have a family of 3 with the bread winner making minimum wage, if they average 3 hours OT a week for the year, they would be above the poverty threshold for Obamacare and have to purchase insurance instead of receiving Medicaid.

    The truth is, while the minimum wage may help some in the short term, it has very little long term effects, is meant to be more of a feel good vote than anything else and is generally supported by those looking for political support from those who think it’s the moral or right thing to do.

    I have no problem with incremental increases but when people start talking increases that place minimum wage at more than 40% of the median income, I understand that is when problems will occur and the potential for real damage can be done to employment and the economy.

  • Jason412

    Aaron,

    Isn't that all the more reason to support a minimum wage increase? The less people on food stamps the better, in my opinion.

    I would say the information about it making them ineligible for medicaid is outdated, as in pre-obamacare, as I don't believe that 18k a year would make someone ineligible for medicaid under Obamacare.

  • Aaron

    Interesting, Democratic lawmakers in at least one state have expressed concerns when discussing minimum wage increases that it make some "ineligible for food stamps, Medicaid, and other welfare benefits."

    How's that for a reason to kill a minimum wage increase unless their is also a subsequent raise in welfare guidelines.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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?

  • Charleston

    Good Lord, Leroy! Where did you go to school. You know by "today's" standards, 1+1 = 3. Incompetence.

  • 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.

  • richard

    It doesn't really matter. The tax payers will still foot the bill....higher prices at Mcdonalds or through our taxes.

  • 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!

  • Aaron

    What I find ironic is that protesters set up camp in front of a fast food restaurant which given the increase, will likely see a reduction in workforce. In the not so distant future, many of these establishments will follow the lead of Sheetz and place kiosk at their counters for customers to place their own orders eliminating the need for the 2-3 counter people who take the order and the manager required to override their mistakes.

  • Jason412

    Yeah, let's not raise the minimum wage in favor of letting the government continue to support people. That makes perfect sense.

  • TB

    We should not lose sight of the fact that some jobs that require nothing more than showing up and require relatively no skill (skills most inherently have) are only worth minimum wage. Why artificially inflate the cost of goods and services by increasing the minimum wage? The increase in the cost of goods and services will, in proportion, increase thus solving nothing for lower earners. It gets passed along! Can you find a business owner that will not pass the labor increase along?

  • Blugldmn

    Put someone a few dollars above the poverty line and then cut their handouts maybe this isn't a bad idea ....

  • Blugldmn

    Yes after years of democratic control we've gone from minimum wage being a summer job or entry job wage to being the wage for most people trying to make a living.
    Why not set it at $20 so we can all live good off flipping hamburgers, of course hamburgers will cost $15.95 but there will likely be a government subsidy for them.

  • Rick S.

    You make a very good point, hillbilly. I work for a small municipality, and the money appropriated in our budget is fixed. Businesses can and will raise prices to account for the higher costs, but we can not, unless there is a tax increase approved by the voters, which will not happen. So we WILL have to cut back on workers' hours in order to stay within budget. That means less snow plowing, less road repairing, less grass cutting, and less police on the streets.

    Unfortunately, because of payroll taxes, it also means less money in the pockets of our employees (because of payroll taxes, the relation between wages and hours is not linear). The minimum wage increase will actually result in less take-home pay for our village workers, as well as fewer services for our residents.

  • Gary in Fairmont

    I wonder if service and accuracy will improve if fast food wages go up??? We know the prices will go up. One more reason not to frequent those places if you can help it.

  • Whatamoroon

    Shhhush. The moderator is making minimum wage.

  • Hillbilly Tea

    Why not raise it to $100 per hour? $1000 per hour?

    Or you could actually LEARN free market economics and understand that raising the minimum wages HURTS lower income people the most.

    Stupid progressives.

  • Whatamoroon

    Wow. It looks like this liberal addiction is taking its toll on some democrat members of this legislature. We may need an intervention. That stuff will make you miserable and ruin your life but they keep pushing it on every street corner anyway. They lure you in with free junk at first, and before you know it your addicted. Shameful.

  • JTF

    So how many minimum wage workers are there currently in WV? How many of that total are exempt from WV min. wage anyway?

    WV law exempts businesses that hire fewer than 6 employees at any one site. Does that exemption continue under this bill?

    Does it apply to workers who work less than 40 hours/wk? Full time or part time workers who are waiters/waitresses, etc. who work mostly for tips and who generally are legally paid an hourly wage much less than min. wage?

    Feds have a list of 30 some groups of employees who are exempt from Fed Min. Wage. Most states also have an exempt list from state Min Wage. Does WV?

    People/families who are just under the fed poverty line currently qualify for food stamps, section 8 housing, low income heating assistance, and other fed and state assistance programs that together are worth several thousands of dollars.

    By having a higher minimum wage, might there be situations where some (based on hours worked) will get $1000-$2000/yr. more salary (minus payroll deductions like FICA, etc.) but then lose more than that since they make too much to qualify for the assistance programs?

  • Jason412

    I know this is a state increase, but how do you feel about the 29 times the Federal minimum wage was increased?

  • mark

    Who is Consensus? Where did he go to school?

  • mark

    An economic boom? give me a break! she must have went to the same economics class as president obama.

  • Brandon

    Your math is right, but after Obamacare kicks in it will most likely be 8.75 x 31 = 271.25.

  • Aaron

    Have mixed emotions on this issue. I know that theoretically supply demand dictate that a minimum wage increase would increase cost which reduces supply, meaning employment should decline.

    Empirical evidence to suggest that's not quite true. While there is little data to suggest a boom as delegate Lawrence suggest, there is enough evidence to verify that minimal raises in the minimum wage has basically a flat affect on jobs.

    The concern I have is for the unskilled labor who's proven his work by showing up on time and working hard thus earning wage increases that place his pay in the neighborhood of $8-$10 an hour? While that individual may very well deserve the same 20% raise this bill applies minimum-wage, the likelihood that such a wage will happen is slim at best?

    What about the skilled labor, tradesmen or craftsmen who earn $15-$20 an hour? Are they going to see a 20% raise? Probably not?

    Over time this increase may very well accomplish what the union administrators who supported it hope it does, and that is raise all wages. wow daddy suggests that might happen in the long-term, there are studies that suggest wage earners with income that range between 40 to 60% of the median wage feel the pinch.

    No one wants to discuss those earners though.

  • Brandon

    My thoughts:
    1) How many of these people making minimum wage will be laid off or have their hours cut back in order to offset these new costs?
    2) When minimum wage increases that means higher costs for the producers which then get passed on to the consumers which means we all pay more! That nullifies any so called "raise."
    3) The real raise will come in the amount of taxes the government will collect based on the wage increase.
    4) Why do we hand raises out to people who haven't done what is necessary to earn one? I have to really bust my tail and show improvement and get hired for new better paying jobs just to get a raise.
    5) I really don't expect anyone making minimum wage to understand any of this and our politicians are counting on that so that you will re-elect them for passing this bill under the disguise of helping the unfortunate poor.

  • hillbilly

    Won't matter, they will soon see their hours cut to make up for it...

  • Leroy j gibbs

    8.75 x40 =350 dollars a week

  • Leroy j gibbs

    My math shows 8 dollars an hour times a 40 hour work week is 320 dollars a week not 350