Minimum Wage Hikes in Missouri and Arkansas: Is Louisiana Next?
Two Republican run states voted this week to increase their minimum wage. Arkansas' wage will go up to $11 an hour by 2021, and Missouri's minimum wage will rise to $12 by 2023. Efforts to raise the minimum wage in the Bayou State have failed, but New Orleans Senator Troy Carter believes what happened in Arkansas will help convince lawmakers in Louisiana that a minimum wage of $7.25 is too low.
“This was passed by a Republican majority House, which tells you this is not an issue of Republican and Democrat, it’s an issue of right and wrong.”
Louisiana’s minimum wage is currently 7.25, which went into effect as a federal minimum in 2009.
Carter has sponsored the effort to raise wages in Louisiana for several years running, concerned that the rising cost of living has made it impossible to subsist without government assistance with such low pay. The Democrat says this is a bootstrap for those looking to pull themselves up.
“If we truly want to get people off of the public payroll, and provide for themselves, and give them a sense of pride that they are earning their own keep, we have to pay them a fair wage.”
Louisiana is one of only five states without a minimum wage law, as it uses the most recent federal minimum.
Carter’s regular session bill suggested raising the minimum to 8.50 an hour over two years, but with the cost of living continuing to increase, and wages stagnant, he says the 2019 attempt will be a bit more ambitious.
“You can bet that is going to be a couple dollars at least (higher), certainly more than we have done in the past, because things aren’t getting better for working people, they are getting worse.”
The National Federation of Independent Businesses opposes raising the minimum, say an increase at entry level jobs would necessitate pay raises at higher positions, something businesses can’t afford.