Delaware House of Representatives To Consider Minimum Wage in 2014?

Filed in Delaware by on December 6, 2013

Sure looks that way. Rep. Bryon Short, chair of the House Lapdog Committee (aka the House Economic Development/Banking/Insurance/Commerce) wrote in today’s News-Journal that he now supports legislation to increase Delaware’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25 an hour:

I voted against releasing the legislation from committee at both hearings. In addition to my votes, I have stated I understood the role of minimum wage, supported minimum wage as sound public policy, and that I looked forward to the right time in our economic recovery to vote in support of the bill. I believe now is the right time to support and pass a minimum wage increase for Delaware workers.

Good. What this really means is that Gov. Markell and his designated delay agents have decided that further stalling on minimum wage is not politically tenable.

Short also wants to restore to the bill a provision that Markell had opposed and had gotten dropped:

During the 2012 hearing on the minimum wage bill, I raised the option of indexing the minimum wage – tying future wage increases to the Consumer Price Index – as is done in several other states…(t)he original bill Sen. Robert Marshall introduced this past spring incorporated indexing the minimum wage, but it was amended out of the legislation. I still believe that indexing has strong merit and should be considered as the bill moves forward.

Got three words for ya: Just do it. HT to ET…thanks for phoning home.

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  1. Jason330 says:

    Dos anyone know how this bill treats tipped workers? The crap that the restaurant industry lobbyist foisted on the country is downright criminal.

  2. socialistic ben says:

    Im not usually one to play “look a gift horse in the mouth” when I don’t get everything I wont out of legislation, but 8.25/h is still not a livable wage.
    If you’re going to raise minimum wage, it should be calculated based on cost of living and a standard workweek. It should also be designed so no one working 40 h/week should have to qualify for state assistance (assuming it is a 2 income household without special circumstances or caregiver responsibilities)

  3. Jason330 says:

    Great points. When I read the $8.25 I was surprised at how low the existing rate is and how little the increase is.

  4. socialistic ben says:

    It comes to about 17k/y before taxes.
    Yeah, as long as you dont have to buy gas or food, or pay heating bills…. or have any medical expenses at all… It’s the BIG LIFE. (spoiler alert, it also makes “goin back to school and learnin’ something so you can make more” financially impossible.

  5. Liberal Elite says:

    @J “Great points. When I read the $8.25 I was surprised at how low the existing rate is and how little the increase is.”

    The state would likely do better with a larger increase. We want to get people off of public assistance (esp. Walmart workers), but not make it so high that jobs go elsewhere.

    Since most minimum wage jobs are jobs that can not go elsewhere (e.g. cannot send a janitorial job overseas), the risk of losing too many jobs is rather low. The sweet point is that value that minimizes the cost to Delaware taxpayers, and that’s probably at about $10, since that will get every worker off of welfare without driving businesses away.

  6. Steve Newton says:

    no one working 40 h/week should have to qualify for state assistance (assuming it is a 2 income household without special circumstances or caregiver responsibilities)

    Then perhaps we should also look at military and state government jobs wherein we have families working directly for the government, full-time, and still qualifying for food assistance and other forms of assistance …

  7. puck says:

    Any increase would be welcome even if it falls short of a living wage standard. Perhaps other creative sanctions and incentives could be created for employers who fail to pay a living wage. After all, Delaware is a major client and should not be doing business with employers who pay poverty wages.

  8. socialistic ben says:

    “Then perhaps we should also look at military and state government jobs wherein we have families working directly for the government, full-time, and still qualifying for food assistance and other forms of assistance …”

    Sounds good to me.

    Puck, My concern is if MW is raised to 8.5, that IS something… however, I worry everyone* will say “there, we did it. Now THAT problem is fixed for the next 10 years” Once gas hits $6/g and the prices of food and whatnot go up, that 8.5/h will start looking pretty pathetic.

  9. Liberal Elite says:

    @sb “that 8.5/h will start looking pretty pathetic.”

    Then tie the MW to a reliable index that doesn’t include an obvious feedback mechanism. Maybe the CPI?

  10. socialistic ben says:

    I would want the MW first raised to a basic standard of living.
    I have absolutely no doubt that the price of a “loaf of bread” would increase at the same rate because of the “invisible hand”, making everyone on MW “as impoverished” I mean shit, the price of everything ticks up fast enough without wage increases.

  11. puck says:

    Sure, raise it more if you can get it.

    Raising the minimum wage is important, but what’s really needed is an authentic jobs boom that will raise wages across the board through supply and demand, including raising many jobs that now have fallen to minimum wage. That is not an unreasonable expectation. Given the history of the business cycle, we are due – but now are held back by cheap-labor policy that continually funnels money upward no matter what else is happening in the economy.

  12. socialistic ben says:

    My other problem with the 8.25 proposal is, there will be “compromise” and it will end up being something like 7.75.
    Push for $18/h that way you can take $10 (for example), which still isn’t great, but at least people wont be choosing to feed or medicate their kids. You also appear to have given a lot of ground. The supporters of slave labor will have a hard time convincing the general public that it was “shoved down their throats”

  13. Don’t think so, SB. Something has happened here. Remember, Markell insisted on changes to the original Senate bill that (a) reduced the amount of the increase; (b) delayed implementation; and (c) eliminated the provision that would have led to automatic increases based on increases in the CPI.

    In Short’s op-ed, he writes about restoring the link to the CPI, and we should push for that.

    I think that some pretty powerful figures in the Party used some pretty significant leverage to exact this sea change. I have little to no doubt that Markell and Schwartzkopf will not try to sabotage this thing going forward.

    I, for one, think we should urge our legislators to restore the link to the CPI in the final version of the bill. We could well see a minimum wage bill signed by the Governor by the end of January.

  14. cassandra_m says:

    This is an interesting strategy — Montgomery Co and Prince Georges Co, MD and Washington DC worked to raise their minimum wages together, so that the threats of moving to another county by businesses get minimized.

  15. Liberal Elite says:

    @ES “…urge our legislators to restore the link to the CPI in the final version of the bill.”

    Instead of using the CPI, you might want to consider the Federal Poverty Level as an alternative index. If the goal is to keep working people off of welfare, that might be a better index.

  16. BTW, assuming that nobody flips from yes to no, there will be enough votes to release the bill from committee b/c very reliable sources tell me that a second D will flip to yes.

    This would be a great way to start the legislative year.

  17. stan merriman says:

    Break the status quo mode, Delaware. $15 per hour, where it should be for a bare essential living. Then, an annual index thereafter. Let’s stop giving lip service to this national disgrace.

  18. Great news! In a piece in today’s Delaware State News, Andria Bennett she would vote to release the minimum wage bill from committee.

    She said that her vote has been eating at her, and that she strongly believes that raising the minimum wage is the right thing to do.

    Kudos to her. Takes guts to publicly admit a mistake like that, and she’s definitely doing the right thing.

  19. citydem says:

    Gee, great that some “Democrats” had a “change of heart” – they (especially in the House) disappeared on Marshall’s bill last year. Some of the flip- flops – should be remembered down the line. The issue of wage inequality has grown since 1980. Where the hell have these Democrats been- especially on minimum wage– ?? We will see what other measures are introduced and actually passed in this short legislative session. Guess it could be primary time again. They tried last session to but a CPI amendment on it got pulled I beleive- we will see how far it goes this year. Like the link to the federal poverty level–

  20. Rose Izzo says:

    Rose Izzo ‏@realRoseIzzo: Love Al Mascitti @wdel ~~> His rant today at 11:45am was Spot On!! Yikes! Can’t believe I just said that :)