Wages

Austin American-Statesman - - MONEY & MAR­KETS - Con­tact Bob Sech­ler at 512-445-3645.

in­vest in new tech­nol­ogy de­signed to elim­i­nate some low-wage jobs al­to­gether.

In ad­di­tion, Shine noted that de­spite the min­i­mum wage re­main­ing un­changed, job growth has been strong in Texas.

“The min­i­mum wage has not re­ally had any im­pact at all on peo­ple seek­ing jobs and go­ing back to work,” he said.

Oth­ers op­po­nents said job growth could go in the op­po­site di­rec­tion if the state’s min­i­mum pay rate is raised. A rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Texas Pub­lic Pol­icy Foun­da­tion, a right-lean­ing think tank, said an in­crease to $15 a hour would cost the state about 1 mil­lion jobs.

Sup­port­ers of the in­creases dis­puted such sce­nar­ios. They said a higher min­i­mum wage would put more money in the hands of peo­ple who would spend it on es­sen­tials, mean­ing it would cir­cu­late back into the econ­omy.

State Rep. Ar­mando Walle, D-Hous­ton, re­counted his up­bring­ing as the old­est of five chil­dren whose sin­gle mother strug­gled to make ends meet at a min­i­mum-wage job at a fast-food chicken restau­rant. One of his bills, HB 992, would raise the min­i­mum wage to $15 an hour.

“She was work­ing on one in­come, and that in­come was mis­ery,” Walle said. “My story, and my mom’s story, is not unique to mil­lions of Tex­ans.”

State Rep. Jonathan Stick­land, R-Bed­ford, was du­bi­ous about the no­tion that an in­crease to the min­i­mum rate might be good for the Texas econ­omy. He quizzed Walle about why his bill would set the rate at only $15, if higher is bet­ter eco­nom­i­cally.

“Why not $100” an hour, Stick­land asked. “I’m just cu­ri­ous why you stop at any num­ber.”

He also ques­tioned why “the heavy hand of gov­ern­ment” is needed to set a min­i­mum wage at all if “it’s so ob­vi­ous this is a good idea” for the pri­vate sec­tor.

Walle called Stick­land’s sug­ges­tion of a $100 min­i­mum un­rea­son­able, say­ing he con­sid­ers $15 a first step in get­ting the hourly rate up to where peo­ple can live on it.

Other bills con­cern­ing the min­i­mum wage that were dis­cussed Mon­day would al­low cities and coun­ties to set min­i­mum wage rates above the state rate within their ju­ris­dic­tions.

JAY JAN­NER / AMER­I­CAN-STATES­MAN

State Rep. Jonathan Stick­land, R-Bed­ford, was du­bi­ous about the no­tion that an in­crease to the min­i­mum rate might be good for the Texas econ­omy. He ques­tioned why “the heavy hand of gov­ern­ment” is needed to set a min­i­mum wage at all if “it’s so ob­vi­ous this is a good idea” for the pri­vate sec­tor.

BAR­RERA / AMER­I­CAN-STATES­MAN 2013 RALPH

State Rep. Sen­fro­nia Thomp­son, D-Hous­ton, is spon­sor­ing House Bill 937, which would in­crease the state’s min­i­mum wage to $10.10 an hour in stages.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.