Anticipation builds minimum wage could finally rise in Louisiana

LA minimum wage bill

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Year after year attempts to raise the minimum wage in Louisiana have failed. As this year’s legislative session gets underway in Baton Rouge, anticipation is building that this could finally be the year to make it happen.

A new survey by LSU's Public Policy Research Lab found more than 80 percent of Louisiana residents support raising the minimum wage.

At Jean Simpson Personnel Services in Shreveport, job seeker Alisha Myles described her strong feelings about raising the minimum wage.

“It’s about time, it’s been awhile," she says.

This July will mark 10 years since the federal minimum rose to $7.25 an hour, the same as the rate in Louisiana.

That’s because Louisiana is one of 5 states in the country that has no minimum wage of its own. So, it uses the federal rate.

Myles vividly recalled trying to live off that wage in recent years.

"It's not possible. You have to get multiple jobs in order to just survive."

In this year’s legislative session, Governor John Bel Edwards supports Senate Bill 155. This proposed constitutional amendment would allow voters to decide whether to establish a state minimum wage of $9 per hour.

Operations Manager at Jean Simpson, Jeff Bomar, told us they have hundreds of jobs available every week and that 95 percent of them pay above the minimum wage.

Bomar also advised job seekers that there are certain steps they can take to improve their odds of being hired above the minimum wage.

“May it be in a trade school, computer skills, because there are a lot of jobs and there are a lot of people looking,” he says.

Myles concluded that with the stakes so high in her case, providing for two small children, failure is not an option.

In the United States, 2.3 percent of all hourly workers are paid at minimum wage or less, according to government figures from 2017.

In Louisiana, that figure stands at 3.6 percent.

While that may seem high, consider back in 2010 the rate of minimum wage workers in Louisiana stood at 8.9 percent.

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