A bill authored by state Sen. Troy Carter of New Orleans to raise the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $9 made it out of the senate’s labor committee with a 5-1 vote.
Despite making it over this hurdle, the bill is expected to face a difficult time in the full Senate.
Why the business lobby fights so hard against Louisiana workers earning more seems equally as difficult to understand. As The New Orleans Tribune reported in its January 2019 issue, by the start of 2019, several states and cities raised their minimum wages, leaving Louisiana in poor company as one of 22 states with a minimum wage of $7.25 or less.
According to MIT’s living wage calculation, a single adult in Louisiana needs to earn $10.91 an hour in order to have an acceptable standard of living. For a single adult with one child, that figure jumps to $23.43 an hour. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 40,000 Louisiana workers earn minimum of wage. There are many others earning more than $7.25, but whose earnings still fall short of a living wage. And all of these workers represent countless families and children struggling to afford the basics–food, housing, clothes, childcare, healthcare, transportation and taxes.
Not only has the state legislature refused to raise the minimum wage, it has also refused to repeal a state law the prevents municipalities within the state from enacting higher minimum wage laws for their jurisdictions.
With a little more than a month remaining in the legislative session, we encourage our state’s leaders to find the courage needed to do what is right for the people of Louisiana.