For Rural TN: Raise the Wage

A new report indicates that raising the minimum wage will have far-reaching benefits, especially for those in rural areas. Since Tennessee has a greater percentage of workers earning the minimum wage than anywhere else in America, our state stands to gain with a minimum wage increase. Rather than waiting on the federal government to act, however, Tennessee leaders should move NOW to raise the wage.

Here’s more on the impact from our friends at Economic Policy Institute:

More importantly, doubling the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024 would also likely boost incomes for the poorest households in rural counties, according to a white paper released Tuesday by economists Anna Godoey and Michael Reich at the University of California Berkeley. They found no evidence that such a large wage hike would lead to significant job losses or fewer work opportunities — something big business groups often warn about.

As Congress prepares to vote on a bill to gradually raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour, the study sheds light on how far such a policy change could go to shrink income inequality in some of America’s poorest regions. For example, in Alabama, minimum wage workers currently earn about 45 cents for every dollar earned by a median wage worker. If the federal pay floor were to double, that gap would shrink to 77 cents for every dollar, the study says.

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“It’s time for Tennessee to raise the minimum wage,” said Andy Spears, executive director of Tennessee Citizen Action. “Week after week, we see Governor Lee dress up in farm clothes and pretend to care about rural Tennessee. This study makes clear that raising the minimum wage would have tangible benefits for citizens across our state. We shouldn’t wait for a reluctant federal government to act. Tennessee needs a raise NOW.”

min wage 2019

For more on our work for economic justice, follow @TNCitizenAction

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