FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
January 26, 2016
Contact: Jason Stanford, 804-698-1049, DelALopez@house.virginia.gov
House Republicans Refuse to Raise Minimum Wage
Virginia Workers Continue to Fall Further Behind
RICHMOND – Today the Virginia House of Delegate’s Commerce and Labor Subcommittee #1 voted along party lines to oppose all legislation that would potentially raise the minimum wage for Virginia workers.
While House Bill 988 - sponsored by Delegate Alfonso Lopez - would have raised the subminimum wage for tipped workers to $5.00 per hour, House Bill 597 - Delegate Plum - and House Bill 623 - Delegate Krizek - would have raised the regular minimum wage to over $10 per hour. House Bill 995 from Delegate Mark Levine would have allowed localities to adopt their own minimum wage within their jurisdiction.
“The subminimum wage for tipped workers in Virginia has stagnated at $2.13 for the past twenty five years,” said Delegate Lopez (D-Arlington). “With women making up two-thirds of tipped workers, I am disappointed that Republicans in the House of Delegates continue to oppose raising the wage and closing the pay gap for these hard working Virginians.”
“Persons working at the minimum wage are working for wages below the poverty level,” added Delegate Ken Plum. “Raising the minimum wage would reduce the need for persons to make decisions on whether to pay for prescriptions, get gas for the car or buy clothes for their children. Putting money in their hands would also be a stimulus to the economy.”
Delegate Mark Levine (D-Alexandria) commented, “Conservatives like Speaker Paul Ryan repeatedly claim, ‘government closest to the people governs best’ and oppose “having big government crowd out civic society.” Yet Republicans today unanimously voiced their insistence on a national uniform policy on minimum wage set by Congress in Washington, rather than allowing local elected officials set a minimum wage that best reflects the cost of living in their localities. With irrefutable evidence that the cost of living in Northern Virginian exceeds costs elsewhere in the Commonwealth – and the nation – it appalls me that these Republicans unanimously gave up their supposed sacrosanct conservative principles to let Washington dictate policy for every city, county, town, and hamlet throughout Virginia. This shows once again the hypocrisy of conservatives who pay lip service to local control but, in actuality, vote otherwise.
"A person who works a full-time job shouldn't have to rely on public assistance or charity. Our hard-working neighbors deserve a raise," said Delegate Paul Krizek.