TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – A Democrat state lawmaker says a movement by his party to raise Indiana’s minimum wage is dead for this session.
While Hoosiers probably won’t be getting a pay raise this year, the debate continues.
Many question, could it do more harm than good?
News 10 spoke with local representatives who weigh out the pros and cons.
“I will issue an executive order requiring federal contractors to pay their federally funded employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour.”
Those are the words of President Obama, during his State of the Union Address, that ignited a nationwide debate, and now many Indiana legislators are making the same plea for all workers.
An amendment to raise the state’s minimum wage by $1 was recently voted down.
“Right now its $7.25 and we would like to raise it to $8.25 that came up as an amendment on a bill in the House. It didn’t go. It didn’t get enough support from the other side,” says Representative Clyde Kersey, District 43.
Kersey believes the raise would be a big step towards helping Hoosier families who are struggling under the current wage.
“If we can elevate those people so they have more money to spend that it will create additional spending, and create more demand for products, and help our economy,” says Kersey.
Those who oppose the hike fear just the opposite would happen, resulting in higher price tags and even job loss.
“It’s kind of a trade off and an off set. I certainly think that people deserve to make more money, but I think we need to take a look at the impact too. I think there are a lot of people who might be out of work as a result of increasing it,” says Representative Timothy Skinner, District 38.
Kersey agrees businesses would have to make changes, but he doesn’t see the impact as a negative one.
“If they have to raise the minimum wage they will probably raise their prices. Some people don’t think that’s a good idea. I think it is, because in the end every dollar that we spend creates additional dollars in buying power,” says Kersey.
For now the question remains, what is the solution to remedy the growing number of people living below the poverty line?
Skinner says he’s still on the fence as to whether or not raising minimum wage is the answer.
“This is one of the biggest issues that should be out there and that we should be dealing with that were not dealing with because the answers are just so darn tough,” says Skinner.
Kersey added the issue will be brought up again next year.
He says the attention minimum wage is receiving from the federal level this year may affect the issue in 2015.
“States generally tend to follow what the federal government does, and now since the federal government is now pushing to raise the minimum wage, I think there will be more support for it next year than this year,” Kersey said.
Last month, the President signed an executive order raising the minimum wage for federally contracted employees to $10.10.