News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
FRIDAY, APRIL 13, 2007


Faulty reasoning stalls minimum wage hike

Legislators who had a hand in bottling up a bill to establish a minimum wage in Alabama should be shamed. They are listening to business interests and not to a majority of their constituents.

The House Commerce Committee made sure the wage won’t rise any time soon when it amended the bill to say the state minimum wage would be the same as the federal minimum wage. Then the committee sent the bill off to a subcommittee, where it likely will die.

Under a business-dominated Republican Congress, the minimum wage has been stuck at $5.15 per hour for a decade. That’s the reason so many states created higher minimum wages.

Rep. Patricia Todd, D-Birmingham, sponsored the bill to raise the minimum wage to $5.85 in two months, to $6.55 a year later and to $7.25 the following year.

The reasons against raising the federal minimum wage or establishing a state minimum wage are shallow:

  • Raising the minimum wage wouldn’t effect many people;
  • Raising the minimum wage would hurt the people it is designed to help;
  • Small-business owners can’t afford to pay more;
  • Alabama doesn’t need more regulations.

    Alabama has about 30,000 workers who are at or below the minimum wage level. They receive taxpayer subsidies.

    The bill would allow the state to monitor businesses, for which there is an obvious need, to make sure employers pay the minimum wage.

    The committee action is particularly egregious considering the pay raise legislators gave themselves at the beginning of the session.

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