Texas House Democrats are again pushing for a minimum wage hike, though Republicans are hesitant to move any legislation forward.
Houston Rep. Armando Walle wants to allow voters to raise the state's minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $15 an hour. But fellow Democrat Senofria Thompson thinks phasing-in a $10.10 minimum wage is better strategy.
“It is something I think is doable, its something I think businesses would embrace at this particular level and its something we could do in a phase-in period without having a devastating impact on the economy of small businesses,” says Thompson.
“What we're doing by not increasing it is we're subsidizing big companies and food assistance, and in other areas of working families.”
Thompson says raising the minimum wage has three major benefits.
“It helps to keep up with inflation, it gives more buying power to working families and it keeps people from having to work two jobs and gives them more time, freedom and relaxation with their family.”
Jonathan Horowitz, CEO of Legacy Restaurant Group and president of the Greater Houston Restaurant Association, disagrees.
“The marketplace dictates what the appropriate wage levels are,” says Horowitz. “Specifically for the restaurant industry, we've seen over the years that restaurant employees typically are making more than the minimum wage even at the level it currently is.”
“Those jobs are thought of as a more short-term environment that gives people skills and experience to go get higher level jobs, even if its not inside the restaurant industry.”
Legislation addressing minimum wage so far have been left sitting in committee.