SENATE COMMERCE & LABOR COMMITTEE DEFEATS $15 MINIMUM WAGE BILL
Richmond, VA - The Senate Commerce and Labor Committee voted to pass by indefinitely SB 668, a bill that would have increased the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour over the course of two fiscal years. Virginia has not permitted an increase above the federally mandated minimum wage of $7.25 and has never adopted authority to index the wage to the cost of living schedule, even though 6.2% of Virginians are hourly workers compared to the national average of 4.3%. Nineteen states, including Washington D.C., have raised their minimum wage above the federal level of $7.25.
Senator Barbara Favola (D-Arlington), the bill’s patron: “Income inequality enables a cycle of poverty that traps many of Virginia’s families. If we want a robust economy, we must pay hourly workers more and increase their purchasing power. Raising the minimum wage to $15.00 is a necessary step in growing the Commonwealth’s economy.”
Senator Rosalyn Dance (D-Petersburg): "As a co-patron of SB 668, I am disappointed that the Senate, again, refused to raise Virginia's minimum wage. Last October, I had a chance to sit on a panel in Richmond where I listened to numerous testimonies regarding current wage disparities. Many of these Virginians had one shared goal in mind---being able to provide for their families."
A full time minimum wage worker in Virginia makes $15,080 each year, which would put a family of two below the poverty line. In Fairfax County, Virginia, the average monthly rent in 2010 for a single bedroom apartment was $1,216 or ($14,592 per year). A tenant earning the minimum wage would have been left with only $488 to meet all of his or her yearly needs apart from rent. Raising the minimum wage to $15.00 an hour would produce a yearly income of $31,200. A 2014 Quinnipiac poll found 66% of Virginians support raising the minimum wage above the federal minimum.
Senator Barbara A. Favola represents Virginia’s 31st district, which includes parts of Arlington and Fairfax counties, and a portion of Loudoun County. For the 2016 session, Senator Favola serves on the Local Government, Rehabilitation and Social Services, and Transportation Committees.