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.
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.
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.