As a state Representative, a citizen of the city of Dallas, and President of the Labor Caucus of the National Conference of State Legislators, I ask all Texans to join me in signing the petition proposed by the AFL-CIO to increase the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour. Additionally, I would like to encourage cities, counties, and school boards to voluntarily raise their minimum wage to $15.00 that can sustain families and individuals alike.
More than 400,000 Texans currently earn at or below the minimum wage even though in every major Texas city, a person needs to make more than $11.50 an hour to afford basic necessities. Raising the minimum wage to just $10.10 an hour would improve the lives of over 2.4 million Texans, and an increase to $15.00 an hour would benefit thousands more people. Raising the wage will allow mothers and fathers to stop having to choose between paying the bills and putting food on the table, and help reduce the number of children living in poverty in Texas.
A common misconception is that most minimum wage workers are teenagers and young people working to earn some spending money at entry level positions, but this is simply not true. 60% of those earning the minimum wage are in the prime working years of 25 to 60 years old. Only 3.1% of minimum wage workers are between the ages of 16 and 18. Increasing the wage will allow these workers to start saving for retirement and reduce their need of aid from the state and federal governments.
Raising the minimum wage would not only benefit the workers, but also the economy as workers would have increased purchasing power and more money to contribute into the market, thus increasing the state's GDP. This in turn would increase the prosperity of the entire state and all her inhabitants by raising demand for products and thus creating new jobs to facilitate increased production levels.
My bill, HB 285 would raise the minimum wage to $15.00 an hour and improve the lives of millions. Reasonable increases in the minimum wage were once a bipartisan goal across the nation and I believe it can be a bipartisan issue in Texas this session. Again, please join me in signing the AFL-CIO's petition to increase the minimum wage. I also encourage cities, counties, and school boards to raise their minimum wage above the current level.
Contact: Tammy Pirtle