Minimum Wage

The Need for Minimum Wage Increases

Senate Bill 10 would raise the minimum wage in Delaware from the current rate of $8.25 to $10.25 in 2020. This $2.00 increase would be phased in with $.50 increments each year for four years.

With increasing concern about income inequality, minimum wage laws have become a prominent political issue. Supporters of minimum wage increases argue that they’re necessary to provide basic living costs, and many have called for increases to as much as $15 per hour.

State legislatures have responded, and 21 states are slated to put 2017 minimum wage increases into effect at some point during this year. In about one third of these states, there are only very small inflationary adjustments.

Other states are implementing major increases. Arizona will see a rise of almost 25%, adding $1.95 per hour for a total of $10.00. Massachusetts and Washington State will have raises of $1 or more.

Some states are implementing major increases in stages. Arizona will reach $12 per hour by 2020. California will phase in a series of hikes to reach $15 by 2022. New York State’s will reach $12.50 per hour in 2022. Nearly two dozen cities and counties have also enacted higher minimum wages. However, a total of 20 states rely on the federal minimum wage of $7.25 which hasn’t increased since 2009.

The Minimum Wage in Delaware

Delaware ranks 24th among the states with a minimum wage $1.00 above the federal minimum. However, Delaware currently provides no inflationary adjustments. With the increases in other states and cities, passage of SB 10 is essential for Delaware to remain in the middle range of US jurisdictions.

Low income people in Delaware could use a raise. The News Journal recently reported that Delaware had the second highest foreclosure rate in the nation last year.

Opponents cite many objections to minimum wage increases—that they kill jobs, small businesses, and restaurants, and only benefit high school students. However, as states implement gains, these myths are being disproved. Increases in the minimum wage have a stimulative impact resulting from the increase in purchasing power. Our General Assembly should pass SB 40.