Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Minimum wage hike fails in committee

Posted By on Tue, Mar 5, 2013 at 12:09 PM

Butch Wilkins
  • Butch Wilkins

State Rep. Butch Wilkins' bill HB1402, to raise the minimum wage from $6.25 an hour to $8.25 an hour failed by one vote in the House Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee this morning. We couldn't hear the roll call, but Rep. David Meeks tweeted that the vote was 10 for to 5 against; 11 yea votes were needed.

Wilkins noted the wage hasn't been raised in seven years, a time when costs of fuel, food and utilities has significantly jumped, and won't for two years more if the bill fails; that people working full-time at the minimum wage are earning only $13,000 a year, below the federal poverty line if they have a spouse or a child to support; and that extra earnings would be returned to the economy because the new dollars would be spent. He cited studies that say the minimum wage has no detrimental impact on business or the economy, but acknowledged that there are studies that suggest otherwise.

Brett Kincaid of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Family testified that when parents have to work two jobs to support their families, the children suffer; he also asked that the lawmakers consider the increased pride and productivity the higher wage would encourage and the fact that there are bills under consideration to give small businesses tax breaks. Alan Hughes of the state AFL-CIO said he was there not on behalf of his union workers, who are paid more than the minimum wage, but their families and friends. "I've been at this table several times. Last time we heard the same stories about the pros and cons. But think back when it passed: Did you see all that happen on the bad side? The only thing new about this is you sitting at this table today."

Speaking against the bill were representatives from two groups that provide services to 1,100 disabled people, saying those would have to be cut back; Montine McNulty of the Arkansas Hospitality Association, who argued that businesses are fearful about what the new health care law will require of them; and Dan Greenberg, who called the pay raise "cruelty in the guise of compassion," arguing that history (1890-1930, for example) shows that businesses won't hire the undereducated — minorities and students — if they had to pay their workers more. (The bill provides for lower than the minimum for students.)

Rep. Greg Leding asked if anyone on the committee knew what the price of a gallon of milk was. None answered, but Kincaid did: $3.23, or about half of what Arkansas's minimum wage workers earn in an hour. Reps. Justin Harris and Meeks were the most vocal in disagreeing with those who spoke for the bill, insisting that it would hurt business owners and result in layoffs.

Wilkins said he expected to hear such arguments against the bill, but said the lawmakers need to show the working poor of the state some respect. He closed by saying he'd been told by a woman that she was working two jobs to feed her four children. "I asked her if her kids went hungry, and she said no, but she did."

Tags: , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Speaking of Minimum Wage, Butch Wilkins

Comments (28)

Showing 1-28 of 28

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-28 of 28

Add a comment

More by Leslie Newell Peacock

  • One dead, another hospitalized after midtown shooting

    The Little Rock Police Department has tweeted that officers are on the scene of a double shooting at the Midtown Park Apartments, 6115 W. Markham St., near the corner of University Avenue and Markham. Police say one person has died, and a second victim is at a hospital. The apartments were previously known as the Plaza Towers, an affordable housing development.
    • Apr 26, 2017
  • Semantics drives discord over Metroplan vote on 30 Crossing: CORRECTION

    The board of directors of Metroplan voted today to seek public comment on an amendment to its Imagine Arkansas long-range transportation plan that would allow the highway department's 30 Crossing project, to widen 7 miles of I-30 through downtown North Little Rock and North Little Rock and replace the Arkansas River bridge, to go forward.
    • Apr 26, 2017
  • Food Truck Friday lineup: Cajun, Asian and BBQ

    Here's the lineup — including two out-of-towners —  for the Downtown Little Rock Partnership's Food Truck Friday feed from 11:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. April 28 at Capitol and Main streets: Almost Famous, Black Hound B-B-Q, The Southern Gourmasian and Whole Hog Cafe's food truck.
    • Apr 26, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • FOI lawsuit filed for State Police firing records on ABC enforcement boss Boyce Hamlet

    Russell Racop has filed, as promised, his lawsuit over the State Police's refusal — under guidance from Attorney General Leslie Rutledge — to release records that provide information that led to the firing of current Alcoholic Beverage Control Enforcement Director Boyce Hamlet as a state trooper.
    • Sep 9, 2015
  • From Dallas, creative thinking about the Interstate 30 project

    An urban planner in Dallas says freeways are not always the answer. Incorporating some creativity already being used in Dallas and looking at the Interstate 30 project from a broader perspective, here are ideas that Arkansas highway planners have not considered. But should.
    • Nov 6, 2015
  • 'How to decimate a city' — a big freeway

    Reporting from around the U.S. continues to illustrate the folly of the Arkansas highway department and construction boosters like the chamber of commerce and Vice Mayor Lance Hines in advocating ever wider freeways through the heart of Little Rock. Syracuse, N.Y., is looking for a better way in a debate remarkably similar to the debate about widening Interstate 30 in Little Rock.
    • Nov 20, 2015

Most Shared

  • Workers stiffed

    How is it going with the great experiment to make the Republican Party the champion of the sons and daughters of toil instead of the oligarchs of wealth and business?
  • O'Reilly's fall

    Whom the gods would destroy, they first make TV stars.

Visit Arkansas

Fishing the Diamond Lakes of Arkansas

Fishing the Diamond Lakes of Arkansas

Arkansas angler and fishing expert Billy Murray shares his extensive knowledge of the Diamond Lakes of Arkansas

Most Viewed

  • UPDATE: Fourth death confirmed in Polk County; suspect identified

    UPDATE: The body of Reilly Scarborough has been found, bringing to four the number of family homicides in Polk County. The nine-year-old was found in woods west of Hatfield. A suspect is in custody.
  • After the storm open line

    Flooding remains after a deadly storm that left damage over much of Arkansas. An open line for Sunday evening.
  • Three in family dead, child missing in Polk County

    A child is missing and his mother, sister and a relative have been found dead this week in Polk County, local authorities say.
  • LR City Board talks about crime and gang violence

    Police Chief Kenton Buckner talked to the Little Rock City Board this afternoon at a special meeting about violent crime and the role being played by gang activities. The police can do more — and will, he said. But police alone are not the solution for problems besetting the most crime-prone neighborhoods.
  • Baker Kurrus: Opposes Little Rock School District tax proposal

    Baker Kurrus has written a monumental essay explaining why he opposes the proposal in the May 9 special , the Little Rock lawyer and businessman who long served on the Little Rock School Board and spent a year as its superintendent after the state takeover before being fired by Education Commissioner

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

Slideshows

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation