December 2, 2014
SB681 would boost struggling families and spur local economies
Richmond, Va - This morning, the Virginia Economic Opportunity Coalition announced their support for SB681, legislation introduced by Senator David Marsden (D-37) to raise Virginia's minimum wage to $10.10 hour. Members of the Coalition joined Senator Marsden to discuss the impact of raising the wage on Virginia families.
Tiffany Bell, a Richmond-area mother of two, spoke about her experience earning minimum wage at McDonalds. "I'm the mother of two children. On $7.25 an hour, I have to come up with rent, food, daycare, and more. You simply can't make ends meet on that wage. You want to give your children everything in the world, to help them reach their goals, but I can't do that on $7.25 an hour."
Senator Marsden said, "People who work hard and play by the rules should be able to afford to live with dignity and raise a family. Too many working Virginians are still losing ground and not getting a fair shot at the American dream. We need to create an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy few.
A March Roanoke College poll found 65% of Virginians support raising the minimum wage. A March survey from Quinnipiac found similar numbers. Across the country, momentum is building for increasing support for low-wage workers. Six states approved minimum wage hikes via ballot referendum this November, including deep red states like South Dakota and Nebraska.
Anna Scholl, Executive Director of ProgressVA, a member of the Coalition, also expressed support for the increase. "Raising the wage is a shot in the arm for our economy, giving working families more money to spend, which in turn gives our community businesses more customers. While CEO pay has increased 875% over the past 35 years, average worker pay has increased only 5%. It's time we make sure workers are paid a fair wage for a hard day's work."
Low wage workers live in every community and legislative district in the Commonwealth. Six in ten workers impacted by SB681 are women, and one quarter are raising children. Close to 300,000 Virginia children live in a household that would see increased income from raising the wage. And, contrary to common perception, low-wage workers are primarily older and working full time. A full 88% of workers affected by SB681 are twenty years or older and 53% are working full time.
Members of the Economic Opportunity Coalition include ProgressVA, Virginia New Majority, The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis, Virginia AFL-CIO, SEIU Virginia 512, and Virginia Raise Up for 15.