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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  • 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 ....

    • richard

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

  • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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

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

      • American Bred


      • 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.

        • 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

            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


          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

            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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • Jason412

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

  • hillbilly

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

    • 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.

  • Leroy j gibbs

    8.75 x40 =350 dollars a week

    • Brandon

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

  • Leroy j gibbs

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

    • Charleston

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