min wage

Following President Biden’s proposal to increase the minimum wage nationally to $15 an hour, a handful of Democrats in the N.C. legislature have introduced a bill that would set that same earnings benchmark for noncertified public school employees.

Rep. Terence Everitt, D-Wake, introduced House Bill 5 that would make the change effective July 1. On the Senate side, Sen. Don Davis, D-Greene, filed a bill that would require the Department of Public Instruction to study and make recommendations on the concept of raising wages to $15 per hour for the same employees. Both measures are stuck in committees.

The concept of a $15 minimum wage for government workers is not new in the Tar Heel State. In 2018, the Republican-controlled legislature approved a $15 minimum wage for all state government employees. If passed, H.B. 5 would bring school staff to that same level.

Democrats in North Carolina’s more left-leaning cities are also taking action. The Durham County Board of Commissioners, for instance, voted to approve doubling the minimum wage for the county’s classified school employees.

State Democrats at the federal level are taking a more aggressive approach by signing on to legislation to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 on a gradual scale by 2025. This change would apply to private businesses.

“The federal minimum wage has been held hostage at $7.25 for almost 12 years, but you can’t survive on seven twenty-five, especially not during a pandemic,” said U.S. Rep. Alma Adams of North Carolina’s 12th Congressional District. Adams is one of the bill’s co-sponsors.

Critics of raising the minimum wage point out that small businesses are already battered by COVID-19 shutdowns and the sagging economy.

One analysis by the conservative Heritage Foundation estimated that a restaurant with five full-time workers facing a doubled minimum wage would mean an extra $85,800 in wages and employment taxes. With restaurant profit margins in the range of 5%, the added cost would be untenable in normal times, yet alone during the pandemic.

A new paper from scholars David Neumark and Peter Shirley reviewed all existing research on the effects of minimum wage hikes and found that such increases were generally bad for employees, especially those with lower skills such as teens, young adults, and the less educated.

“Private employers that have to earn money from customers must make choices: Whether to replace labor with capital, cut workers alone, or raise prices,” said Joseph Colleti, senior fellow for fiscal studies with the John Locke Foundation. “Low-skill workers often end up losing their jobs and unemployed people with low skills have a harder time finding work.”

(8) comments

drewski

I fail to see how singling out state employees and the subset school employees makes any sense what- so- ever. The min wage was never intended to be a " living wage" it was intended to keep employers from taking advantage. in 1978 min wage was 2.65 and a qtr pounder meal at mc d was .99 cents, now min wage is 7.25 and in some places that mc d meal is 10 bucks or more in big cities Shouldn't an hrs work buy you an unhealthy meal? 40 yrs ago it bought 2.5. Shouldn't that apply to everyone?

David Collins

There is a large number of folks whose hourly wage is keyed into the minimum wage . When the minimum wage is bumped up , their wages are bumped up as well . Even if they are making well above the minimum . Union workers , government workers for example . Besides , if you have worked your way above the current minimum and now a new hire comes in and makes $15 from day 1 and you are making $16 after 2 or three years you will want more for your efforts . 31k is a lot of money to pay a burger flipper or even a sandwich artist at Sub Way .

While the original intent of the govt. minimum wage was noble , like all things govt. it comes with a tangled web of where as and what for’s , strings , and becomes political . What doesn’t these days . Sadly , the intent was supposed to motivate folks to strive to do better , upward mobility and all that , but now it is used to placate and raise the poverty level while ensuring the never ending flow of benefits to those oh so needy . For votes of course . Nothing is free .

noitall

Why only $15? Why not $30 - pick a number. The minimum wage with no improvement in hourly productivity will fuel automation as it has since the beginning. Automation is not that hard with cost savings guaranteed plus investment tax credits and rapid depreciation that is as good as cash. Be careful what you wish for. Fifty years ago I automated with CNC and eliminated 50 jobs. Robots show up for work every day.

drewski

!5 was picked not as an arbitrary number but what the min wage would/ should be if it kept pace with actual inflation. Automation is going to continue to happen. Perhaps its time to consider Mr. Yangs proposals? universal basic income? ( You may now start shrieking about commies) as Ai and automation increase it will simply be a repeat of the industrial revolution that killed the agrarian life style that preceded it in this country. Time marches on, no matter what the comments in the news times say.

David Collins

Where is the money going to come from and how are you going to stop the crooks from stealing it ? Government routinely fails at both quite handily .

drewski

Businesses will increase costs slightly to pay for the increase in min wage. While the gloom and doom predictions of failed buisnesses and the collapse of civilization continue, many places have already enacted increasing the min wage and none of that happened.

mpjeep

Raising the minimum wage to $15 may not be the answer and will probably hurt low skilled workers the most by eliminating jobs.

Small businesses will certainly suffer, possibly close, and places like Amazon, Walmart, Target, etc., will get richer and not be affected at all.

When the price of production increases, the item being produced will inevitably cost more…….inflation.

David Collins

Have not seen the bill to increase the minimum wage , doubt if it will become common knowledge . You know , will have to pass the bill to see what is inside it . Seen that before . Bet you the devil is inside the details . Biden admits it will be a hard sell , hope he is right . No , guaranteed basic income is not a good idea no matter what Yang says . Talk about a means to disincentivize a segment of the population . The layabouts in the US will love it and that segment is a growing .

Of course , if you personally wish to contribute to taking a layabout to raise , have at it . I will take a pass , thank you very much . Doubt that will happen due to talk being quite cheap .

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