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Congressman Banks: $15 minimum wage would hurt Hoosier families

WASHINGTON D.C. (WPTA21) — An Indiana Congressman is expressing concerns over legislation that would gradually increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024.

During a hearing in the House Education and Labor Committee, Congressman Jim Banks (R- IN) expressed his concern over proposed legislation that would gradually raise the national minimum wage to $15 an hour.

House Referendum 582, introduced on January 16 by Representative Robert Scott (D-VA 3), would increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024. It would also make sure every worker covered is paid at least the full federal minimum wage and provide for future increases to the federal minimum wage.

Rep. Scott said after 10 years with no increase to the federal minimum wage workers have suffered a 17 percent pay cut due to inflation. He says today’s minimum wage worker has less buying power than a minimum wage worker had in the 1960s.

“We now have an opportunity – and a responsibility – to restore the value of the minimum wage, lift millions of hardworking people out of poverty and grow the economy in Main Street America,” Rep. Scott said.

Congressman Banks, however, says he is worried that the proposed bill would destroy jobs. Banks said a recent study using the methodology of the congressional budget office found the proposal would cost Indiana 64,130 jobs in 2020.

“This isn’t just a number,” Congressman Banks said. “That is nearly 65,000 Hoosiers losing the dignity that comes from having a job and being able to provide for themselves and their families.”

Congressman Banks brought up conversations that he had with two constituents who own restaurants.

One of them said under the proposed legislation he would have to cut a quarter of his staff and raise menu prices 2-4 percent. Another business owner said the tipped workers provision would force him cut half of his staff along with raising the prices.

“At a time where we have nearly 7-million jobs that can’t be filled, it is incredibly reckless to rob people of their livelihoods in able to live up to a campaign talking point,” Congressman Banks said.

Rep. Scott, however, said the overwhelming majority of research from both left and right leaning labor economists find few if any jobs are lost when gradually raising the minimum wage.

“This bill will also stimulate local economies across the country,” Rep. Scott said. “Over the six-year phase-in period, the increase in the minimum wage would generate $120 billion in additional wages, which will flow back into local businesses.”

You can read the full legislation on the Congress website.

Jacob Burbrink

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