Raising The Minimum Wage in South Carolina

Columbia, SC (WLTX) -Right now our state has no minimum wage law of its own, and follows the national rate of $7.25 a hour. A bill in the state senate would increase that to $8.25 and would adjust as the national rate changes.

"In the year since I first called on congress to raise the minimum wage, six states have passed laws to raise theirs. More states, counties and cities are working to raise their minimum wage as we speak," said President Obama in his weekly whitehouse.gov video.

Obama is pushing for congress to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

Some companies like the Gap have decided to pay their workers 10 dollars an hour as soon as next summer.

Here in our state, Richland County Senator John Scott is trying to raise the minimum wage by a dollar.

"That's big for a household that is barely getting by. I mean that's at least 150 dollars more a month, that puts food on the table that buys gas to get through the month," said Scott.

Scott's bill would require a constitutional amendment, meaning if it clears the General Assembly, it would then be up to voters to decide.

He says the increase is not much, but it's a start.

"Let's start talking about what the real impact can be on South Carolinians. If we look at it going to $8.25, $9.25 or $10.10, what's going to be the real impact on South Carolina citizens' lives and what these people will be able to do by increasing the minimum wage."

If approved, Scott says after taxes, the change would amount to about $2,000 for someone who works 37.5 hours a week.

Based on federal data, minimum-wage employees must work on average nearly 3 full-time jobs to afford a decent two-bedroom apartment in our country without paying more than 30 percent of their income

USA Today says that a person living on a minimum wage salary would have to work 80 hours a week... in our state just to afford a decent two bedroom apartment.

"These are the people who come to work early in the morning and go home late at night to make sure we enjoy what we can in the food service community, the beverage community, the grocery community, they deserve the opportunity to be able to pay their rent."

Scott says about 1.2 million sc residents receive some type of government funding and by raising the minimum wage it could cut down on those who use food stamps and other programs.

The bill is in a senate judiciary committee.


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