Pricey Harrison

Friday, June 03, 2005

State's Minimum Wage Increase Proposal Fails

The House defeated a bill late Wednesday night that would have raised North Carolina's minimum wage by a dollar to $6.15 per hour. The bill, which was defeated by a vote of 66-52, sought to raise the wage from the federal hourly minimum of $5.15 per hour.

A lively floor vote on the bill occurred late Wednesday night, but opponents of the wage increase ultimately won, making arguments that a higher wage would hurt local businesses and the workers that the introducer, Representative Alma Adams (D-Guilford), sought to help. Representative Earl Jones (D-Guilford) also strongly debated the merits of the bill.

The legislation that reached the House floor on Wednesday night was a compromise from the original bill. An earlier version would have gradually raised the wage to $8.50 by 2007. The federal minimum wage law applies to businesses that do at least $500,000 in business a year; smaller firms involved in interstate commerce; and federal, state or local government agencies, hospitals and schools. At least a dozen states set their own minimum wages at hourly rates that exceed the federal minimum.

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