Monday, September 15, 2014

French Hill at last makes it clear: He is dodging minimum wage question

Posted By on Mon, Sep 15, 2014 at 10:14 AM

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J. French Hill
, the 9th-generation Arkansan and millionaire banker, made it clear over the weekend that he does not yet have a position on the ballot initiative to raise the Arkansas minimum wage, currently paying $13,000 a year for a full-time worker who takes no vacation. That's a little bit more than a quarter of the $46,000 it takes to join the Country Club of Little Rock, where French Hill plays golf and about double yearly club dues of $6,600 (not counting meals, drinks and golf cart rental, all extra.)

Hill's record on the minimum wage continues to evolve and devolve:

June 8, he told KUAR he opposed both a state and federal minimum wage increase. He's repeatedly expressed enmity to a minimum wage at any level as anti-business government regulation. He DOES support reducing income taxes on the wealthy.

Then, after the measure qualified for the ballot:

* He told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Sept. 5 he'd support the Arkansas increase "if he can ensure it doesn't negatively impact Arkansas jobs." He provided no timeline on a decision. He offered no guidance on WHAT would ensure the matter for him.

* Stephens Media, which interviewed him the same day, said Hill opposed the measure, along with 4th District candidate Bruce Westerman. 

Roby Brock got him on tape over the weekend. You'll find the important part at the 8:15 mark.

Hill  is undecided.

I'd like to be able to vote for it. I'm doing my due diligence to see if it will not have a material impact on jobs.

When will that due diligence be completed? A good bet: In time to vote NO in the voting booth, but not necessarily in time to share that decision with voters, who overwhelmingly favor the increase.

Democratic 2nd District candidate Pat Hays supports the minimum wage increase. It would move the minimum for the 170,000 covered by it from $6.25 to $8.50 by 2017.

Even Asa Hutchinson and current 2nd District U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin support the minimum wage increase. Hill, who just made $4 million selling a bank, doesn't think the "Obama economy" can risk it.

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