House Democrats fight for minimum wage increase

Joshua Perez was a college student, but had to drop out to work full time. He works at Wendy's earning $7.25 an hour, something he says is a struggle.

“Not having enough food to eat, or common amenities like just toilet paper, having money to wash clothes,” said Perez.

He is in favor of raising the minimum wage

“I am not settling for 10, not 15 it should be higher, around 18 to 21,” said Perez

Monday, several Texas House Democrats brought bills to the table addressing minimum wage.  Some want to increase the wage to $10.10 an hour, others $15.

“We're trying to make sure working families can be able to sustain themselves. We're not asking for a handout, we're asking for a hand up,” said State Representative Senfronia Thompson (D) Houston.

Lawmakers presented each of their bills to the business and industry committee. Not all agreed.

“If you raise it to $15 an hour what about the folks who are currently at $15 an hour? They're going to want more money,” said State Representative Paul Workman, (R) Austin.

“It would be great if we could all just make a ton of money and everybody's happy but the economics of it just don't play out,” said Annie Spilman, state legislative director, NFIB. They represent small businesses.

“If they're mandated to pay a wage that they can't afford to pay all their employees, they're going to have to cut those positions,” said Spilman.

“They want to say it hurts small businesses but they get tax incentives, they get subsidies whenever they go ahead and raise it, that is up to them,” said Perez.

The committee left the bills pending Monday. Some like Joshua Perez hope to see at least one of the bills pass this session.

“Put yourself in the struggle. Put yourself in our shoes,” said Perez.

The last time the minimum wage in Texas was increased was in 2009.
 

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