Rep. Todd — Followup On Minimum Wage Bill

The federal government has failed to raise the minimum wage in over 10 years.  While both the House and Senate passed a raise to $7.25 an hour phased in over 2 years, the US Senate amended the bill which sent it to a Conference Committee.  The Conference Committee has failed to schedule a meeting on the bill and I believe working people deserve a raise NOW!

If you are making minimum wage your annual income is ONLY $10,700 and I would challenge any legislator to live on that salary.

UPDATE:  Further comments from Rep. Todd:

Are you disgusted yet?  I am.

This week in the Legislature my minimum wage bill was sent to a subcommittee to die.

The federal government has not raised the minimum wage in over 10 years and it still stands at $5.15 an hour.  Annually that comes to ONLY $10,700!!!!  I believe that passing legislation to raise the minimum wage is the most important “family values” issue we face.

I have heard the arguments against raising the minimum wage and understand that some are concerned that it will hurt small businesses while others suggest it is not needed because a free market will dictate wages.  The best one I’ve heard is that “nobody pays minimum wage.”  Right.

It is unbelievable to me that the same legislature that voted to give themselves a 62% pay raise would vote to kill a bill to raise the minimum wage to just over $2.00 an hour for over 126,000 minimum wage workers in Alabama.  Over a hundred thousand Alabamians.  Isn’t Alabama politics great?!?

I knew it would be a long shot to get the Alabama Minimum Wage bill passed.  It was sent to the Commerce Committee where most of the members are Republicans or conservative Democrats (with the exception of my Democratic friends including Representatives Earl Hillard, Jr., Rod Scott, Peblin Warren, AJ McCampbell and Alan Harper).  True to form, the Chair of the Committee, Rep Frank McDaniel, gutted my bill and the committee voted (by a voice vote) to send it to a subcommittee stacked with members who oppose the bill (except for Rep. Pebblin Warren).

On the positive side, we have started a dialogue about a living wage and the importance of growing our economy top to bottom.  We should celebrate the growing economy of our state, but we need to remember those we have left behind–those who don’t have access to reliable transportation, access to health care and safe affordable day care.  I will continue to work with others who believe, as I do, that poverty affects all of us and it is not about blaming the poor for their lack of resources and a systemic structure that can be paralyzing to overcome.  I want to thank those who stood with me this week in this effort: Alabama Arise, the Alabama Poverty Project, AFL-CIO, UAW, Appleseed, the YWCA of Birmingham along with many more.

On other matters of the legislature, the Constitution and Elections committee passed the Constitutional Convention bill and it now awaits action in the full House.  I think we will have a lengthy debate on the floor, but hope that it will pass the House and make its way through the Senate.  The opposition is concerned about the influence of special interest groups (i.e. AEA) and they believe that we should revise the constitution article by article. [Ironically in so doing we the House has only taken up only a handful of articles over the past five years].  But in the spirit of compromise and progress, I say let’s do both!  Let’s work on article by article as we move through the convention process, itself a lengthy, multi year process.  Short term and long term solutions…now there’s a concept!

Thanks again for letting me share my experiences with you and I always look forward to your comments.

12 Responses to “Rep. Todd — Followup On Minimum Wage Bill”

  1. Bottom Line says:

    Sounds pretty good for only working 28 hrs a week! I can’t believe you gave me this softball to hit out of the park.

    $10,700 / 7.25 = 1475 hours of labor per year
    1475 hours / 52 weeks = 28.3 hours per week

    Why not have that person squeek out an extra 12 hrs a week and bring the income up to $15,000. Better yet, have them work 50-60 hours a week like the Americans that are in the middle and upperclass so they can bring their income up to around $20,000-$22,000

    The person’s income will not be taxable and they will receive an income tax credit as well. Not to mention the other government programs they would receive. So go ahead and tack on an extra $5,000 to any of the figures above. Now figure they probably qualify for low income housing and they can reduce their expenses.

    Nice misleading tactic. $10,700 sure is catchy and makes things so desperate for the minimum wage folks. Sure $7.25 isn’t a ton to live on, but you can survive on minimum wage and the government programs. We have the right to the PURSUIT of hapiness, no the right to a brand new SUV and a 3,000 sq ft house. I gotta admit, this post is a classic example of the liberal way to manipulate the media and the truth.

  2. Kathy says:

    BL, I can’t believe you gave me this softball. The minimum wage is not $7.25/hour; it’s $5.15/hour. Rep. Todd (who wrote this post) was proposing that Alabama adopt a bill similar to the one that has yet to be adopted on the federal level.

    $10,700 a year at minimum wage means working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year. No vacation, no sick days, no time off to take care of sick children or parents.

    Before you accuse other people of manipulation, get your math right.

  3. Helen says:

    Which government programs? They’re being cut. Show me how a small family can live on current minimum wage and pay rent, healthcare, food, clothe a child and keep a car running and in gasoline.

  4. Dan says:

    They can’t, Helen. But a teenager with a summe job can live off it. So should we raise wages only for families but not for dependents? What if that dependent is taking care of his mother? Should we raise it for people who are taking care of parents and families?

    The fact that a family can’t live off min. wage is established with only a few who disagree. The real question is whether a government regulation will make it better for everyone as a whole.

    I continue to say either get rid of it altogether or make it a living wage.

  5. Kathy says:

    Dan, Helen is most definitely not advocating this only for families. And she would completely support a living wage. This is Alabama, however, and we have to think in small increments.

  6. Dan says:

    I think you miss my multi-tiered point, Kathy. I still think a government mandated wage is dumb and inefficient and a case of the cure being worse than the disease.

    But if we’re going to have it, then it should be something people can live on.

  7. Danny says:

    Wow… Bottom Line really fumbled the response. Kathy, you covered the wage aspect pretty well. I had one other point…

    Bottom Line said that someone making minimum wage is not taxed. Couldn’t be further from the truth. Actually, someone living below the poverty line (as anyone making minimum wage is) pays more in taxes in Alabama than they would in any other state in the nation.

  8. Anna says:

    Bottom Line’s comment really proved the worth of his personal character.

    Woo hoo! Those poor working class folks can live in the projects if they make minimum wage!! Well, WTF are they whining about?

    And they can get an earned income credit once a year? Hot damn! Those whiny ass people can shut up and stock up on dry goods to feed the family the rest of the year!!! They’ve got it made!!!!

    Hell, I’m going to quit my job and go back to being a waitress AND a cashier at Food Fair, because I had forgotten how great it was to be poor and hungry and buy my child’s clothes at the thrift store as well as having to wait in that long cheese line and wonder how I’d buy formula for my infant daughter when my W.I.C. wasn’t good for a few more days. God, I miss those days!!! I was one of those working poor single mothers that had such a low income that I only got a few hundred dollars of EIC. What about those people Bottom Feeder?

    And they can just work “50-60 hours a week like the middle and upper class” do? I don’t think a garbage man or waitress gets to stay over at work after the business’ close and work extra like a white collar pencil pusher can. I know I couldn’t make the grocery store stay open so I could check out more bags of dog food so I could make another 4 bucks so I could have that big house. No, wait I was so broke I had to move back in with my mother after I got out of the battered woman’s shelter.

    Let’s just have those losers eat cake!!!!

    And the misconception that people who make minimum wage only want that big house and the SUV isn’t a valid point, especially since it’s your “middle and upper class” that are the ones that obviously desire that lifestyle. Working class people want the minimum wage increased so they can feed their kids and keep clothes on their back. And they aren’t concerned if they have A&F on the shirt like the kids with money are. even though I’ve witnessed it being the parents who seem to be obsessed with decorating their kids in brand names. I guess that’s from the guilt of being a workaholic and not being around their child while they work that 60 hour work week. I know I’d rather drive a used car and be a constant presence in my childrens lives than have money in the bank and let them stay home alone in that big house in the fancy neighborhood.

    Not only are BL’s politics mean spirited and uncaring, so are his views on people.

    Not to mention you’re an unlikable ass.

  9. Bottom Line says:

    Kathy- Did you get my response? It doesn’t even say it is in moderation. Any clues?

  10. Bottom Line says:

    Kathy-
    Sorry, I misread the original post. I should not have been so harsh; I quickly misread the figures and thought the $10,700 referred to the $7.25. But my points still apply. BLUF – the minimum wage does more harm than good. Politically speaking, it is also a bad idea because the government further messing with the businesses is simply wrong and wealth redistribution. Here are some key points and statistics that dispute the claims that the minimum wage needs to be raised. It is a bit lengthy; it came from various sites and sources (mainly, IRS, BLS, FNS)
    - Nationally 1.7 million workers earn $5.15 or less per hour (2.2% of all hourly paid workers). Only 17% of those live below the poverty line (490,000).
    - The industry with the highest proportion of workers with reported hourly wages at or below $5.15 was leisure and hospitality (about 13 percent). About three-fifths of all workers paid at or below the Federal minimum wage were employed in this industry, primarily in the food services and drinking places component. For many of these workers, tips and commissions supplement the hourly wages received. Resulting in a higher average hourly income than the minimum wage.
    - 65% have family incomes over twice the poverty line.
    - Approx. 43,000 folks in Bama earned minimum wage or less (about 2.5% of the working population in AL)
    - Statistics show minimum wage adversely affects teenagers and ethnic minorities. In some demographics nearly 3 times as much. This is due to the fact that increases in the wage forces businesses to cut undereducated and inexperienced workers to increase productivity to remain competitive. Since the inception of the minimum wage, unemployment has average 3 pts higher.
    - The earned income tax credit would give the worker between $400 and $4,500. Example, a single mother with two kids would get with an AGI of $10,700 would get $4,500 (figures rounded off). Other welfare income does not count in the AGI, further adding to the actual income of the worker. The single mother of two $10,700 example has an actual income closer to $20,000 just including the EITC and food stamps.
    - Alabama taxes would cost the wage earner 5% of the $10,700. After standard deductions dependent on the filing status, the taxes would be between $300 – $450. (I am still researching this so my numbers may be off a tad)

    Here is the bottom line. $10,700 is not an accurate representation whatsoever. The actual number of folks trying to survive on that misleading number is an extremely small number. Adjusting the EITC for the small percentage of people would be a better and more efficient means of fighting the poverty of those individuals. Having the government force businesses to pay higher wages is socialism and hurts the economy. Why on earth do we think it is the government’s responsibility to invade with our wallets when we don’t want them invading our personal lives?

    Anna-
    Any time you can manage to jump off the bandwagon of other people’s ideas I will be happy to listen to your criticism. You still fail to present any substantiated original or intelligent ideas. Your puerile arguments continue to expose your insecure ignorance. Here is a clue. People make choices and those choices have consequences. If people choose to be irresponsible and drop out of high school while having babies, life is going to be tough. If you choose to work hard and get an education, life is going to be tough, but at least have a good income. Stop advocating that the government rob the pockets of businesses and individuals so that ineffective social programs can continue the cycle of poverty. That is the true mean spirited and uncaring position that promotes class separation and poverty. And yes I am an unlikable ass, I am glad you noticed. I still prefer that to being an insecure self-righteous dolt. Best wishes.

  11. Kathy says:

    Sorry, BL. You went all the way to the Akismet spam that time. One thing you’re missing re: Alabama is our high sales taxes. We’re one of only a couple of states that still fully tax food. I refer you to Alabama Arise for more information.

    And I’d really appreciate it if you and Anna would call a truce. As you and I have already demonstrated, it is possible to disagree without using personal insults.

  12. Bottom Line says:

    Kathy-
    I took a quick look at the pdf for the tax plan on the website. I agree sales tax on groceries is bad, but adding more rules and continuing the flawed income tax plans doesn’t help. I would refer you to the website http://www.fairtax.org/site/PageServer . It is a simple and fair plan. One of the biggest problems with all the rules in the current plans is that they create too many loop holes. I was skeptical at first and favored a flat tax, but after some serious looking into the FairTax, I saw the light.
    I will agree to a truce with Anna, but reserve the right to return fire.

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