CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Both state Senate President Jeff Kessler and House of Delegates Speaker Tim Miley are urging Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to sign the bill raising the minimum wage into law.

The legislative leaders commented on the bill Thursday after concerns have been raised in recent days focused on the changes the bill makes in overtime rules.

“Any minor clarifications regarding exemptions in HB 4283 can be taken care of during a brief special session before its effective date and is not a reason to veto the bill,” Kessler said in a prepared release.

Speaker Miley said hard-working families deserve to make a living wage.

“If people spent as much time and energy working to improve the bill as they have arguing against it, West Virginians would be much better off,” Miley concluded.

But both private and public employers are highlighting the overtime changes and some have said Gov. Tomblin should use his veto pen.

“The unintended result is that all West Virginia employers with six or more employees would be required to comply with state overtime requirements that otherwise have not been updated since 1982,” Terry Sterling, Wheeling Chamber of Commerce president, wrote in a letter to Tomblin. “That old law lacks many of the exemptions of federal law, which now determines how most West Virginia businesses handle overtime.”

But Sen. President Kessler maintained signing the bill was the right thing to do for the state’s workers and the state’s economy.

“This bill puts more money in the pockets of hard-working West Virginians, who in turn spend their money locally,” Kessler said.


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  • DWL

    Every employer should be noting the ones screaming for this. They should be the first ones fired when they detrimentally affect the business's bottom line. (Same as I noted the idiots with the m0r0n decals on their cars - they went first.) If they want higher wages, they should have studied harder and voted conservative. Liberals have been holding them back for scores.

  • Shadow

    I assume both leaders are lawyers so what do they know about small business? I doubt if they have any employees who earn anything near a minimum wage. So what is the impact of their opinion, everyone got one.

  • LowRider

    Kessler and Miley give the same worn out liberal argument. "Give people who deserve it more money". If they just wanted those people at the bottom of the economic scale to get higher wages, they should have just passed a straight line increase to the minimum wage.

    Shredding the overtime rules for many state employers and municipalities will only result in employee's losing their jobs. Tomblin should veto the legislation and then have the legislature pass a new bill that deals with wages only!

  • Terry L

    I am a small business/restaurant owner with 7 employees. I am barely making ends meet right now thanks to the tax and spend attitude of this state. I can barely pay my own personal bills right now let alone my business's bills. If I have to bare a significant increase in minimum wage I'll be forced to let staff members go or just close up shop all together then everyone loses their jobs including me. Only one of my employees makes minimum wage as he just started but I can't give him a raise without giving the rest of my staff a raise as that wouldn't be right. I don't think our state reps ever consider unintended consequences that some of these bills cause.

    • ViennaGuy

      - I don't think our state reps ever consider unintended consequences that some of these bills cause. -

      That can be said for most politicians.

    • Aaron

      It seems to me that if you're struggling as it is, you should reevaluate your product, your revenue and your cost structure. Are you covering both your variable and fixed cost? Are you maximizing your revenues?

      I understand that margins can be very thin, particularly in a service industry but anyone who has ever watch Restaurant Impossible understand that failing restaurant's have much in common, beginning with low quality food combined with underestimated cost.

      Perhaps you should contact Robert Irvine.

  • Aaron

    The concern over this bill is not whether a wage increase is justified or not, it is about the OT exemptions. Why do people keep posting in a manner that implies those with concerns regarding the bill oppose the minimum wage increase when that is not the case.

    • Bob


      President Kessler said we could address that. Quit blowing smoke! This is no reason to veto. The bill needs signed ASAP!

      • Aaron

        I don't trust Kessler. Veto the bill, fix it and return it to the governor for signing.

        • Wirerowe

          Aaron this is about the democrats being able to run on this in the fall and speaker Miley keeping his speaker's position. This bill is a good bill except for the" unintended" overtime . It should be vetoed and made right and passed in special session. More important to get it right than whether we have a democrat or republican. Majority in the house.

          • Aaron

            I agree on the bill and have no problem with the wage increase. I just honestly believe that "unintended" was in fact intended.

            That and I think both Miley and Kessler have done a terrible job in leadership positions. If Democrats do retain a majority in the House, members should find a new speaker.

  • WhgFeeling

    Wow so many self indulged people that believe they are entitled to a raise albeit a forced minimum wage raise. Seems a shame you are not good enough to garner a raise on your own merits.

  • Bob

    Thank goodness for a Democratic majority looking out for the working folks! Thank you President Kessler and Speaker Miley.

    I will do all I can for Democrats this year because God help us all if the "Big Business Republicans" take control! The only people getting raises will be CEO's.

  • Steve

    O.K. I'm a business looking for some place to set up shop. Do I go to a state whose wages are so poor the state has now stepped in to mandate a minimum wage? Sounds awfully inviting

    • Old inspector

      You. Go to a place were you can work people like they. Did in the mines around here 60 or 70. Years ago , you. Build stores and charge them high prices and take it out of there check. Along. With. The rent. And tools. They need on the job. And if they strike. You. Hire. Someone. To shot. A few. Of them. I am. So tired. Of the. If. You was. Going to start. A business. Bs that excuse was. Been used. For years. And. Has. Has. Been reason. For shipping. Millions of. Jobs overseas. Now think. For. One minute what all. Imports were. Cut off What. Would. We have in the store to. Buy. .? Other. Then food. Nothing . If. You were. Going to start a business the real question is were can you. Get people to work. For nothing and treat them like dirt. That. Is your. Question ..

  • I'm honest at least

    A big start to better wages for low income would be to go after the small businesses that pay employees cash. The auction businesses are a good example. We have 2 in Preston county that do this and it should be pretty obvious that a place this large can not operate with almost no payroll. These type of people are scum and should be dealt with in the form of fines so large that they are forced to close.

    • Aaron

      If they have 5 employees or less, they are not required to pay with check. Also, they can hire consultants to aid them in their auction of which they would only have to provide a 1099.

      It must be a really bad auction given the manner you talk about them.

      • I'm honest at least

        They are however required to pay these people minimum wage and pay taxes unless this person is a contractor....and these are employees

        • Aaron

          What if they label them as training employees?

      • Jonesy

        If the person is a person providing a service and not an employee they would be considered a contractor. That would be when tehy would get a 1099. However, if the person works for the employer and is told when to work and how to work, then they are an employee and would have taxes witheld and get a W-2. Not much gray area in that law.

        • mntnman

          Actually what determines whether you are an employee or an independent contractors is who controls the work. Employer controls it -- employee. Individual controls the work -- independent contractor.

        • Aaron

          You are correct, for the most part.

          Of course, if employees are expected to make less than $200 per week OR the employer is is claiming below the required exemptions which varies by state, then the employee is not obligated to withhold taxes, only to track wages and notify the IRS and the required state agency.

  • wvman75

    If they are going to raise the minimum wage, then let the overtime rules change, too. That'll be the real test.

  • G Johnson

    It has been way too long since the working poor got something for their effort. We have to make working (even at the lowest wage) something to value.

    If you keep wages so low that people only experience defeat, they will lose hope. This increase isn't $10.10 an hour but more in line with WV.

    I applaud the WV Leaders for making it happen and hope it is signed into law.

  • Michael

    Raising minimum wage is long overdue. This isn't enough but at least it is something.

    Corporations haven't let their CEOs go without raises and the poor deserve a raise. This is a small increase so it won't be too burdensome.

    Way to go WV! I didn't think you had it in you.

    • WhgFeeling

      So your saying that a CEO or president of a company is not deserving of the raise? Maybe because they do not do as much as the bottom employee? That's funny.

      Simply this would bring the disparity between minimum employees and the average to good employee wage closer.

  • Stephanie

    Many thanks gentlemen! It is nice to see leaders take a stand for the little guy once in a while!

    • WhgFeeling

      Take a stand for the little guy? Isn't that what WV Works, Welfare, Medicaid, Food stamps, etc. have been doing for a long time?

  • Aaron

    They say they can fix the exemptions but if the goal was to eliminate these exemptions, will the bill be fixed once it is signed.

    I stated this morning that I believe the bill was intentionally written as it is and that the goal was to eliminate many of these exemptions. While no one will ever admit to that, if the bill is signed into law and no fix is completed, that will validate that thought, albeit late.

    The surest way to ensure that the bill is fixed is for the Governor to veto and then a new bill can be comprised during another (will this be the 3rd or 4th special session) "brief special session" of our leaderless legislation.

  • TB

    Miley indicates that the minimum wage increase = a "living wage." Why don't you ask those that will be earning the new wage if it equals a "living wage."

    Evidently Kessler missed Economics 101 - an increase in the cost labor = an increase in the cost of product. Relatively simple theorem. Maybe the inference from Kessler and Miley is for small business to simply eat the extra expense tied to a wage increase.

    • Jason412

      Apparently you've missed the fact the cost of living has already skyrocketed since the last minimum increase, and grocery staples such as bread and milk have already increased 10-30% in the first 3 months of this year. The cost of living is going up regardless of if the minimum wage is raised or not.

      • Shadow

        It seems that they forgot the companion bill to this one which would increase entitlements to meet the higher cost of living.

      • The bookman

        According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the CPI for 2013 increased 1.1% for all of 2013. That's 1.1 cents on the dollar all of 2013.

        Income growth in 2013 was more than double the CPI at 2.6%. WV had the lowest growth at 1.5%, still above the CPI for the year. So, how, exactly is the cost of goods outpacing wages?

      • TB

        Why not raise it to $20 per hour then? Are the proposed wage increases proportional with your quote of a skyrocketed cost of living since the last increase? Should the market and skills needed for a particular job not dictate what a person is paid or should they be artificially adjusted to what some are referring to as a living wage?

        • The bookman


          According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the CPI for 2013 increased 1.1% for all of 2013. That's 1.1 cents on the dollar all of 2013.

          Income growth in 2013 was more than double the CPI at 2.6%. WV had the lowest growth at 1.5%, still above the CPI for the year. So, how, exactly is the cost of goods outpacing wages?

          Sorry, had to remove the links.

          • Jason412

            I realize there's no changing your mind. But as a final thought, I'd say the $60 a week makes far more of a difference than the picture you're painting. A $3,000 a year increase on a 15k salary is nothing to sneeze at. Look at all the lobbying teacher's were doing at the Legislator this year in hopes of receiving a pay increase equal or lesser to $3,000.

            I work weekends so they're nothing special to me, but hope you have a good one!

          • The bookman


            It's almost the weekend, and no need to argue over this minimum wage. We are 1Q into 2014 and you want to use 2014 projected numbers. Prices fluctuate up and down based on all kinds of variables. I still contend that an extra $60 a week doesn't magically transform a non living wage to a family supporting wage, so other than feeling good that you've made a difference when you really haven't, what is achieved?

            Last year increases in wages outpaced earnings. What happens in 2014 is still anyone's guess. And this increase in the minimum wage to $8.75 over two years won't make a bit of difference in raising anyone's standard of living. It's smoke and mirrors.

          • Jason412


            It's not "my" 3.5%, it's the BLS's projected 3.5%. That quote was copied from a news site. U.S. Department of Agriculture seems to agree.

            Here's some other quotes and the source link explaining why this is happening, mainly a result of disease and weather.

            "Price inflation for meat, fish, milk, eggs, fruits and vegetables is expected to more than double this year from a nearly four-decade low in 2013.

            “We’re looking at 2.5 to 3.5 percent increases over what we saw in 2013,” Ricky Volpe, an economist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said during his agency’s Agricultural Outlook Forum in late February."

            What is different this year opposed to last year?

            "Despite the increases in the prices of certain high-profile items, more retail food prices fell last year than rose, and that held food inflation to a 37-year low of 1.1 percent, according to the USDA. "

            "However, the full annual data that we have from 2013 does paint a differing view. " - Bookman

            I would say using the 1.1% from a year that saw the lowest percentage of inflation in almost 4 decades is hardly a good example.

            www. dispatch .com/content/stories/business/2014/03/11/rising-food-prices-provide-swift-punch-to-gut .html (take spaces out)

          • The bookman

            Your 3.5% value is too high. If inflation ticks that high, the Fed will have to take action and raise rates, and they are not expecting not projecting that. However, the full annual data that we have from 2013 does paint a differing view. I know you want to focus on February, but is it your opinion that the economy is heading into a free fall, with skyrocketing inflation and stagnant wages? What is different economically this year versus last?

          • Jason412


            Posted this in the other thread but since it's old and will probably go unread I'll repost here.

            "According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the price of food in February rose 0.4% from January, the largest increase in nearly three years. The report suggests that prices may rise as much as 3.5% during 2014."

            Do you expect income growth to exceed 3.5% this year in WV? Since this discussion is not on national minimum wage, let's keep it to WV.

            If WV income growth does not exceed 3.5% this year, that's how goods are outpacing wages.

            "We need good manufacturing, industrial, and technical skill jobs from the private sector that adds value to a product or service. "

            We need these things, but we don't have them. If we had decent paying manufacturing jobs in WV that do not require a college degree and only required an ability to work hard and complete the tasks given, I would be right along with you saying there's no need to increase minimum wage.

            The reality is, we don't have those jobs, and that leaves 100,000 West Virginian's to work minimum wage.

            "A minimum wage job doesn't stay that way for long, unless the employee quits or cannot gain proficiency in the task. "

            That has some truth to it. But while people may not be at the exact minimum wage, raises in the minimum wage sector are frequently very minuscule, like 10-25 cents an hour and maybe once or twice a year. So someone would be working a minimum wage job for years, maybe over 5 years, to earn enough raises to see that $8.75.

          • The bookman

            I can accept that difference of opinion, and prefer to agree to disagree as well. I'm not necessarily against this paltry increase in minimum wage as much as using this issue as a false solution to our problems. Minimum wage jobs aren't intended to be sole provider family supporting wages. These arguments always degenerate into a conservative's desire to starve people versus the liberals desire to save people from evil rich business owners. We need good manufacturing, industrial, and technical skill jobs from the private sector that adds value to a product or service. Those jobs pay family supporting wages and benefits instead of attempting to require low skill service jobs to pay family supporting wages. At $8.75 an hour, the bank is still going to take your car or house, as $1.50, or $60 bucks pre tax on 40hrs is not game changing money.

          • Big Bob-E

            Well Bookman...let me start with I agree with you 99% of the time...but this is the 1% that I don't. While the CPI does index for energy it is way to deceiving. For instance...gas has risen 40 cents per gallon over the last month which represents about an 18% increase. Now while you and I(non-minimum wage earners) are in better positions to absorb that cost...minimum wage earners are not. And, medical cost would be even worse...if only for the soul reason minimum wage jobs rarely, if ever offer health care. So trying to tie the CPI to an argument for or against a minimum wage hike is...a bit disingenuous at the very least. Nothing really gives...but we just disagree on this one. I understand your intentions on this one...but....

          • The bookman


            CPI does include energy, and the breakdown is available on the BLS site. For instance, food contributed .4 of the 1.1%. Wages for individuals are not static. A minimum wage job doesn't stay that way for long, unless the employee quits or cannot gain proficiency in the task.

            As for staying on topic, this was in response to a post regarding basic costs outpacing wages by Jason412. What gives Big Bobby?

          • Big Bob-E

            Simple there was no increase for minimum wage any increase in the CPI out paces their wages...stick with the topic. And, while the CPI shows an average for all doesn't show a true picture for increasing energy and medical costs.