Proposed Minimum Wage Bill Voted Down
by Mark Bellinger
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – You have probably heard about President Obama's executive order raising the minimum wage for federal contractors. There is also a plan to raise the minimum wage in Tennessee.
Wednesday, a House subcommittee heard that plan proposed by Democratic lawmakers. Right now Tennessee doesn't have a minimum wage. Their plan would set Tennessee's minimum wage to $8.25 which is a dollar more then the federal minimum of $7.25. It includes specific circumstances.
"What this bill attempts to do, if you offer health insurance for your employees you can keep paying the current minimum wage, but if you choose not to do that your minimum wage would go up a dollar. It would be $8.25," said Nashville Democratic Representative Mike Turner.
Representative Turner pitched the plan that would have affected businesses who employee 20 people or more.
Five members of a House subcommittee listened to the proposal and then they voted along party lines. Republicans quickly killed the bill with a vote of 2-3.
Representative Turner knew it wouldn't be easy.
"The gap between the rich and the poor is higher than it's ever been and we've done a lot of things in this state. We've given a lot of tax breaks to the very wealthy in this state and done nothing for the working people of this state," said Representative Turner.
Republicans, including Governor Haslam, says raising the minimum wage kills jobs.
"I think the moves we're doing with making community college free to everyone that's what's going to close that income gap more than legislating a change," said Governor Haslam.
Haslam's proposal, called The Tennessee Promise, offers residents free tuition at community colleges and technical schools.
State lawmakers still have to approve the plan.
Democrats say they bring up the minimum wage bill every year, and they'll keep bringing it until someone listens.