Republicans Kill Minimum Wage Increase

SB 590 fails in House committee

RICHMOND, VA – This afternoon, Republicans in the House Commerce and Labor Committee voted to kill SB 590, a bill to increase Virginia’s minimum wage, with Republicans supplying an overwhelming majority of the no votes. The committee did not offer the patron the courtesy of waiting to hear the bill when witnesses could get there, but instead forged ahead in the middle of a statewide snowstorm.

Under current law, the state minimum wage is indexed to the federal minimum at $7.25 per hour.

SB 590, introduced by Senator Dave Marsden (D – Fairfax), would have raised the state minimum to $9.25. The change would have happened incrementally, with separate $1.00 increases scheduled for both 2014 and 2015

Raising the minimum wage would help over 123,000 working Virginians meet the most basic needs, decreasing the strain on public assistance programs — especially from those who hold low-wage restaurant or retail jobs.

Studies suggest that more than half of fast-food workers rely on some form of government assistance. Studies have also shown that minimum wage workers supply, on average, more than half of their families’ weekly earnings. Increasing the minimum wage would make it easier for these workers to support their families, reducing their need for government handouts.

“Raising the minimum wage will stimulate our economy and provide greater economic security for more than 123,000 Virginians. This bill would actually grow Virginia's economy and create jobs,” said Sen. Marsden. “Unfortunately, thanks to the Republicans, thousands of low-wage workers will continue to rely on food stamps, tax-credits and other government assistance — and our economy will continue to be sluggish.”

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