Mike Ross goes after Asa Hutchinson on minimum wage increase | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Mike Ross goes after Asa Hutchinson on minimum wage increase

Posted By on Tue, Jun 17, 2014 at 10:53 AM

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Ross waited a few days but now raps Republican Asa Hutchinson on his effective opposition to an increase in the minimum wage.

This steals a portion of a column I wrote for this week a few days ago following appearances by both candidates before the Delta grassroots caucus. There, Mike Ross supported the private option health insurance expansion, pre-K education and a minimum wage increase initiative. Hutchinson bobbed and weaved. Effectively, he said NO in each case.

A ballot initiative is circulating to raise the $6.25 state minimum wage — lowest among the states — to $8.50 an hour by 2017. Ross has long said (since April 4) that he supports the ballot  initiative.

Hutchinson's position, as stated last Friday (and shown in video):

“In reference to the state minimum wage, I do pledge to address that, uh, next year in the General Assembly. And we look at the economic factors of that time as to what the minimum wage should be raised next year. And I would prefer it to be done by the legislature versus by an initiated act for this reason."

That doesn't even say he'd endorse an increase by the legislature, only that he would "look at the economic factors of that time." The Republican-majority legislature killed a minimum wage increase proposal in 2013. I'd be willing to bet they are less friendly now, even though polls here and nationally show broad popular support.

Says Ross:

“Congressman Hutchinson clearly doesn’t trust the people of Arkansas to vote on whether or not we should raise the state’s minimum wage, so I think it’s fair to ask why he doesn’t trust the voters of Arkansas? I’m supporting the ballot initiative, because it gives every Arkansan the opportunity to vote on whether or not we should raise the state’s minimum wage from its current $6.25 per hour, which is $13,000 a year for a person working 40 hours a week. It’s just the latest example of how out-of-touch Congressman Hutchinson has become with working families in Arkansas.”

In bygone populist Arkansas, this would be a sure winner for Mike Ross. I don't know if that's so in 2014 with our changing political seas. But I do know, from my political point of view, that it's right.

The circumstantial evidence is that Hutchinson doesn't want government setting wages, but he doesn't want to say that today because of broad popular disagreement. He voted against the minimum wage increase as a congressman and once said he thought Arkansas should deal with a minimum wage increase only after a federal increase. The Arkansas wage last increased in 2006. In 2007, the federal minimum was increased to $7.25, but as yet, Hutchinson hasn't even declared support for an increase in the state minimum to that level. His remarks on public record run heavily against increases in the minimum wage.

PS — The Hutchinson camp objects. It says Hutchinson has expressed support for an increase in the minimum wage. Not this one. Not any specific proposal before the legislature. Not the one in 2013. He has no proposal of his own for 2015, only a vague promise to review the matter in light of the current economy. In other words, he wants all of the pleasure of seeming to be with the people while being against the only concrete idea currently available to help. Leadership this isn't.

Tags: , , , ,


Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Governor responds to Medicaid work rule lawsuit

    Gov. Asa Hutchinson has responded sharply to the lawsuit challenging the legality of the state's new work requirement for Medicaid coverage and also criticizing the online-only reporting requirement. His statement:
    • Aug 14, 2018
  • That Medicaid 'work' rule keeps on 'working'

    The latest numbers from the Department of Human Services show  thousands more people did not meet the reporting requirement on work hours in July to meet Medicaid eligibility standards.
    • Aug 14, 2018
  • LRSD school registration problems

    Vincent Tolliver, a candidate for Little Rock, mayor, has written legislators asking the Senate Education Committee to ask Education Commissioner Johnny Key to testify about problems encountered by parents on Monday, the first day of school in the state-run Little Rock School District.
    • Aug 14, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Trump immigration protest at LR: Quick and fierce

    It was not even 24 hours ago that Sophia Said, director of the Interfaith Center; City Director Kathy Webb and others decided to organize a protest today of Donald Trump's executive order that has left people from Muslim countries languishing in airports or unable to come to the US at all — people with visas, green cards,a  post-doc graduate student en route to Harvard, Google employees abroad, families. I got the message today before noon; others didn't find out until it was going on. But however folks found out, they turned out in huge numbers, more than thousand men, women and children, on the grounds of the state Capitol to listen to speakers from all faiths and many countries.
    • Jan 29, 2017
  • Your daily dose of Jason Rapert

    Sen. Jason Rapert really, really didn't like it when a KATV reporter asked him about the hypocrisy of his political arguments.
    • Feb 4, 2017
  • Payday lenders on the march at legislature

    Payday lenders are working hard to get legislative cover for the reintroduction of their usurious loan business to Arkansas. Some are fighting back.
    • Mar 10, 2017

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments



© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation