Better East Texas: Weighing in on minimum wage increase

Better East Texas: Weighing in on minimum wage increase
Better East Texas: Weighing in on minimum wage increase KLTV

(KLTV/KTRE) - The new year always brings new resolutions, new habits, new jobs, even new laws. January 1 marked the trigger date for many new laws.

One push that was impacted by January 1 is the push towards an increased federal minimum wage. Actually, the feds are stuck at a minimum wage rate of $7.25 an hour and have been since 2009. But 21 states have minimum wage increases that go into effect this year.

While there are a few that are pushing towards $15 an hour, most are stair-stepping increases in. So, there are two options here in increasing minimum wage rates – do it by legislation, or by letting the free market dictate increases.

Critics of the legislative route say that raising the floor on minimum wage rates will cost jobs, as some employers will have to reduce positions or hours to pay for the increase. In a country that was established on capitalism, this really makes sense. There are areas of the country that the cost of living is higher in, that deliver higher wages, paying more than $7.25 an hour.

In other areas, like Texas and especially East Texas, the job market is very tight and employers must compete for employees with higher pay or more robust benefits. That is capitalism at work. So in the end, we can rely on the federal government to try to take a swing at it or we can stay on the course of a prosperous economy that rewards hard work and professional development – ultimately “dancing with who brung us” – and that will make for a Better East Texas.

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