From an editorial Friday in the (Greensboro) News & Record:
On New Year’s Day, Jan. 1, 18 states raised their minimum wages. Two more will raise them in July.
North Carolina is not one of them.
The Tar Heel state has chosen to hew to the federally mandated minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. Which is higher than it used to be. But not nearly high enough. Our minimum wage has not budged since 2009.
Lawmakers in the Republican-controlled state legislature won’t touch higher minimum wages with a 150-foot pole. They say companies won’t relocate here if wages rise and that existing companies will cut jobs or go out of business altogether because they can’t afford to pay more.
Also, as a practical matter, a higher minimum wage can benefit the broader society, at least indirectly.
It can help ease the grip of poverty on the working poor. This, in turn, can create positive ripples in the social services and health care costs it reduces and possibly even in lower crime rates.
As for that “job-killing” bugaboo, the vast majority of studies of the 31 states that have raised minimum wages have found that modest increases have had generally little negative impact either on employment or hours worked.
What could be more American than to expect an honest hour’s pay for an honest hour’s work?