COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA)- Minimum wage has been a topic of discussion at both the national and state level. And while congressional lawmakers work out the details of a bill passed this month in the US House, South Carolina lawmakers are preparing to fight for change at the state level.
South Carolina is one of just a handful of states that do not have a state implemented minimum wage, but lawmakers here at the State House have been working behind the scenes to pay workers more.
The minimum wage in the state right now is $7.25. It’s a dollar amount that’s been in place for the last decade after being set by Congress in 2009.
“First and foremost our minimum wage is in the constitution. So it requires a constitution change that says when the state changes their minimum wage we can too,” explained Senator John Scott.
So several bills have been filed. One bill introduces a constitutional amendment allowing the state to raise the wage. Other bill increase that hourly rate.
Senator Scott filed the bill to add the amendment, as well as, a bill to raise the minimum wage $1 above the federally mandated wage.
Senator Scott added, “From healthcare to oil to housing all these things have created major problems for those families who earn minimum wage.”
At least 2 bills raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour, another implements a three-year period to raise the wage to $12 an hour.
But raising the minimum wage isn’t as easy as adding extra dollars to a paycheck.
Joseph Von Nessen, a research economist at the University of South Carolina, explained the negative consequences of increasing the minimum wage.
“A typical business usually has a fixed budget for labor costs so if the hourly rate that they are paying goes up then they’re going to have to choose alternatives to make that budget work that could be changing the number of hours or laying off certain employees.”
The bills filed for this session will be picked up by the appropriate House and Senate committees when session reconvenes in January.
Nationally, congressional lawmakers are looking to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. That bill was passed by the US House, it now rests in the US Senate for discussion.